"The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report that small children, the elderly, and Postal Service carriers — in that order — are the most frequent victims of dog bites."In their informational PDF on page 5, Sacramento (where I live) ranked #8 in the number of dog attacks on a letter carrier! That's not something to brag about.
I am a serious animal lover, and I am not prejudiced against certain dog breeds. However, I am mindful of the fact that all dogs are animals, and even those that are raised in a good home can snap and bite. One day when we were on a walk with our dog Phineas, a large yellow lab came bolting out of the front door of a house and started fighting with my dog!! I grabbed Phineas by his harness and scooped him into my arms (thank you, adrenaline, for letting me pick up my 35 pound dog like he was a piece of paper) while Jim grabbed the other dog's collar and dragged him back to his house. Thankfully this was before Lily was born otherwise it could have been her who got attacked!
And then there are the dogs who are just downright mean. Over Easter weekend last month, a family with a pit bull moved into the rental property next to our home. My first dog was half lab/half pit and I know plenty of sweet, good-natured pits, so I am not automatically scared of pit bulls. However, this pit bull snarled and bit at the fence, causing damage to the fence in just the first 2 days of living there. Granted, the fence is not in the best shape because of its age, but still, that dog literally took a chunk out of one of the fence boards, and made one come loose. My hubby has reinforced those spots.
Thinking maybe the dog just needed to adjust to his new surroundings so he was on edge, I asked one of the family members if the dog was friendly; her reply: "No, and he has an attitude." Awesome. Oh, and he isn't neutered either, which makes male dogs more aggressive according to the USPS document:
"Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite. Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) statistics reflect that dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are up to three times more likely to be involved in a biting incident than neutered or spayed dogs."
Our letter to the property manager asking them to reinforce the fence has gone unanswered.
And today I got the dog bite article from my SIMPLE mom friend, and now I'm all paranoid that the dog is going to come through the fence and bite my baby or my dog. Fantastic.
I guess we'll be going to Home Depot for some more 2x4s this weekend.
Ultimately, I'm not afraid of dogs. We go on walks and ride our bikes frequently, and when I see a dog, my first instinct is not fear. But I need to remind myself to be wary, because it's more important to keep my daughter (and myself) safe than anything else.
Have you had bad experiences with dogs? Share them in the comments section below.