After yesterday’s long and complex post about a woman in Pueblo, Colorado, who was dragged down the street by two pit bulls, I went back online, last night, looking for more details.
The article I read was posted by KKTV in southern Colorado. There was a brief summary of events and a video clip featuring the dogs’ owner, Paul Anthony Rodriguez.
Reading that article got me thinking. And, here’s some of what I thought about:
Rodriguez said: “… I’m not sure what happened here – but it happened and I’m really sorry.”
Me thinking: He seems genuinely concerned and sorry for the actions of his dogs.
Rodriguez said: … that he owns the house, but does not live there full time. He says that he stops by to take care of the animals at that house. And, that he wasn’t home at the time of the attack.
Me thinking: So, just what does “he stops by to take care of the animals” really mean? Does he get his dogs out and socialize them on a regular basis? Do these dogs get daily physical and mental exercise?
And, just how many other animals are ware-housed at this house?
Rodriguez said: … that he plans to have the dogs euthanized; that the animals are normally friendly — that the attack was a surprise.
Me thinking: … Euthanizing these dogs is a cop out, Mr Rodriguez. You are a part of the equation. If all you do is arrange to kill them, you have learned nothing.
Let’s put together a more positive solution.
1. The dogs are currently being held by the local animal control organization that participated in removing them from the neighborhood where the attack took place. Let’s place them with a local dog behavior professional – someone like Harrison Forbes – so that the dogs can be properly evaluated for temperament.
At your expense, Mr Rodriguez.
Because maybe these two dogs are dangerous to people. Then again, maybe there’s more to this attack that needs to be brought to the table. Before decisions about what happens to these pit bull terriers are made.
2. I imagine that the woman who was attacked will have quite a few medical expenses. You need to assume responsibility for them, Mr Rodriguez. You are not responsible for the fact that this woman walked by your house. The house that you don’t live in full time.
But, you are responsible for the conditions you set up in that house that might be said to have influenced how two adult pit bull terriers reacted to that woman walking by your house.
3. I get that you don’t “understand” what happened. You weren’t present at the scene when the attack happened. So, you didn’t see anything. But. You need to take ownership of your ignorance.
If this comes to trial, and if I were the sitting judge, I would 1) order you to participate in Beginner’s and Advance obedience classes, not once but on-going classes for at least 12 months. And, not with your own dogs, but with dogs that are available for adoption in your area that have been evaluated by the behavior experts at whatever shelter has responsibility for these dogs.
2) In addition, I would order you to participate in the on-going activities of a local Schutzhund club for a 12 month to 24 month period. For the sole purpose of helping you to understand “bite work,” working with knowledgeable dog enthusiasts who will teach you all that they know.
3) I would order you to volunteer at a local humane society animal shelter for a minimum of 12 months. It might be helpful for you to assist the employees and volunteers who work in the in-take area of the shelter. The part of the adoption process where pet owners surrender their animals. For many reasons. Some of them valid and some of them not.
Because you seem like a nice man. And, maybe this kind of cour-ordered volunteering would make you more aware of the kinds of disconnects that can happen between animals and their owners. When the owners don’t understand their animal’s behaviors.
Because being exposed to other people’s ignorance might help you to learn.
4) I might assign you to 10 years of poop patrol at a city dog park.
And, I would take away your ability to be given or to in any way, own dogs for at least two years. Because you are going to be VERY busy working with other people’s dogs during this time period.
In short, I would make you an active learner in all aspects of dog behavior for as long as it takes so that, from this day forward, you NEVER find yourself saying, “I don’t understand why this happened.”
Finally, I would take your decision to determine the fate of these two adult pit bull terriers away from you. Despite your seeming genuine concern and the apology you made in that video.
You do seem like a nice man.
And, I may be going out on a limb here. But, I’m going to say it anyway. What you don’t know about dog behavior is more dangerous than the supposed “Unlawful Ownership of a Dangerous Dog” violation that you have been charged with.
Among the numerous violations now pending against you.
And, in my opinion, you should be held accountable for what you don’t know.
In the end, it was what you didn’t know that made those two pit bull terriers dangerous.
Killing them doesn’t address your ignorance. Killing them is too easy. Killing them gets you off the hook. [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]