Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pit Bull Attacked in Dog Park

Recently, a woman wrote to the Auburn Journal that Pit Bulls were ruining the dog park she frequents. According to her, when a Labrador Retriever collided with a Pit Bull, a fight ensued, costing about $400 in veterinary bills. Apparently, she thinks Pit Bulls are the only dogs out there capable of getting into fights at dog parks. Never, of course, would a LABRADOR fight at a dog park (if you believe that, read on).

First, I'll tell you one sad story the media hasn't reported on, but if the headline read, "Pit Bull Attack in Dog Park," you can bet it would have made news (the Auburn story did, after all). It's the story of two dogs at a northern California dog park. One dog, an eight to nine month old Pit Bull, was romping around the dog park chasing after his ball. The other dog, a much larger golden-colored animal with a medium coat (the owner called it a Redbone Coonhound mix) charged across the dog park and attacked the Pit Bull.

The Coonhound latched on to the smaller Pit Bull, and both owners tried desperately to get it to let go. The Coonhound bit the owner of the Pit Bull (likely accidentally) during the scuffle. Off to the vet they went. To his credit, the owner of the attacking dog went with the Pit Bull owner to a veterinarian's office and paid the bill, which amounted to over $1,000 after surgery to repair an internally mangled ear.

Another case comes out of Miami-Dade, Florida and involves two Labrador Retrievers. (In perfect irony, Miami-Dade banned Pit Bulls). One dog -- we'll call him Brody to protect the innocent -- was happily playing with his ball when another Labrador Retriever went after the ball. The two dogs got into a fight, leaving the interloping Labrador Retriever with puncture wounds in his mouth and lip. Yes,that's right, two Labrador Retrievers got into a fight at the dog park. Oh my! What will "Pit Bulls are evil, Labradors are salt of the earth" Auburn lady say about that?

Let this be a lesson to everyone. Dog parks aren't the greatest idea, even for perfectly friendly dogs like the Pit Bull in the first story. Lots of bad things can happen. If that's the only place you can run your dog off leash, go during non-peak hours when it's nearly deserted, and leave when others start to arrive. It's great that cities and towns want to provide off leash spaces for dogs to run, but unfortunately, people bring dog selective or even dog aggressive dogs to dog parks, and that can spell disaster for your best friend. And for those who think it's "Pit Bulls" that are the problem at dog parks, this should be just ONE wake up call for you. Get over the delusion that only Pit Bulls have dogs among them that can be aggressive to other dogs. Dog aggression is an inherent trait in the canine species. It exists in all breeds. In fact, intraspecies aggression -- that means aggression toward members of one's own species -- is rather prevalent throughout the animal kingdom...even, and perhaps most especially, in the group of animals known as humans.

Read the vet's bill below showing what it costs to fix the poor Pit Bull's ear. Even worse than the financial cost is the pain the incident caused an impressionable young pup.

You can read the Auburn letter online at http://auburnjournal.com/detail/141250.html?content_source=&category_id=&search_filter=pit+bulls&user_id=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&event_ts_to=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=1&sub_type=&town_id=

Author D. Capp holds an M.S. in medical science (biochemistry and genetics), a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a law degree.