July 25, 2008

Those poor kids! And dammit, those poor dogs

Two attacks in the news, and two videos. First, a tragedy in Pennsylvania: a dog [an Old English Sheepdog mix, according to police] attacked a 14 month old girl and injured the girl's mother as she tried to protect her child. The attack took place in the family's living room. The girl, Addison Sonney, died Thursday afternoon at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; her mother was treated at a local medical center.

Reporters were on the scene in minutes, and the coverage at GoErie.com — photos, a map, videos — is dramatic and extensive. The big mystery: why did the dog attack?
The dog escaped the home after the attack. Millcreek police hunted it, tracking it through nearby woods with guns drawn.

At one point, officers surrounded the dog in a dense thicket at the northeast corner of Love and Zimmerly roads, shooting at it five times through heavy brush. But the dog continued to run, eventually making its way into the quiet Love Farm subdivision, where homes sell in the $200,000 range. [Reporter must be a Californian.]

Officers patrolling the neighborhood urged children riding bikes and people walking dogs on the sunny morning to go inside their homes.

"He told me there'd been a vicious dog attack, and I should take my dog and go home," said Carol Edmundson, who lives in the subdivision. She ran toward her house, but before she could get there, she saw a dog covered in blood running toward her.
Neighbors, many of whom did not know the dog had attacked a child and her mother, watched the scene unfold. One teen was in tears. Other people held their hands to their mouths.
A police spokesman tells how the dog was killed... er, "terminated," after it "became combative." Which is GI Joe-speak for "went apeshit from pain and fear." [/humanization] Heed the "graphic content" warnings.

The second video is from Brazil, and it's in Portuguese. Boy bites "pit bull"! [English article here.] And loses a tooth — a canine tooth. Eleven year old Gilbert da Silva [a cutie, and thank heavens he's going to be all right] needed four stitches and a rabies shot. What struck me about this video were the features so common to dog attack stories in the North American press: poor families, poor neighborhoods, and a scatter-bred, untrained resident dog, kept in the yard for security.

The links on this site are interesting [and if you need Google Translator, here's the link]. According to this article, after the state of Minas Gerais began regulating 17 "vicious breeds," the number of recorded bites fell dramatically -- except in the city of Divinópolis, where the number of recorded bites tripled "and attacks aren't always by breeds considered 'aggressive.'" [The breed referred to in one article as a Queue and in another as a Row is the Fila.]

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