Dog Attack! September 17, 2008 10:58 AM   Subscribe

A hypothetical question prompts answers of varying violence against hypothetical dogs. Chatfilter? Useful analysis? Something in between?

An AskMe question was one of those hypothetical questions about dogs attacking children, and what to do. From my point of view, a hypothetical question poses an emotionally triggering question and folks start proposing violence, including outright gun slaughter, on hypothetical dogs.

I am sort of OK with a single round of answers and opinions about what's appropriate response and what isn't, but I'm not okay getting forcefully disagreed with in-thread over my request for perhaps less violence being counseled against dogs, hypothetical or not.

Am I misunderstanding the point and protocols of AskMe again? I don't think so, but this is where we talk about these sorts of things.

Beyond that, I'm pretty sure that advocating violence against humans is against our guidelines, so how about the same rule for dogs?
posted by kalessin to Etiquette/Policy at 10:58 AM (88 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I thought your response was fine in that thread which I thought was a bit on the hypothetical side but presented a real-world problem that clearly many people have given some thought to. Advocating violence against humans is actually not against any of our guidelines, it's just rarely a decent answer to any allowable AskMe question. This question specifically looks at a pre-fabricated situation where there is already dog-on-human violence, so I think it would be pretty hard to find answers that didn't involve some sort of human-on-dog violence in response.

I think you made your point effectively in that thread, but I think this may be one of those situations where your sensibilities and those of the people in the thread differ enough that you're unlikely to come to agreement on what's acceptable.

I'll definitely remove answers that are variants of "Kill 'em!" to a question about dog training or dealing with a difficult or unruly pet, but I see most of the answers in that thread, even the ones that advocated violent approaches to dealing with the attacking dog to be situationally appropriate to the incident being discussed.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:06 AM on September 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Will nobody think of the savage dogs?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:12 AM on September 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


Okay. I shall avoid the thread and variants in the future.

Thanks for your opinions, jessamyn and KAC.
posted by kalessin at 11:17 AM on September 17, 2008


I shall avoid the thread and variants in the future

You can also just give your advice and not care when people disagree with you. As long as you stay on-topic and give reasonable advice (as you did in the thread) there's nothing wrong with going against the majority when answering a question.

I personally like that the MeFi community has a diverse range of opinions and that's one of the things that makes AskMe so useful. Yes, it can be frustrating when most of the people in a thread give advice that you don't agree with, or even directly refute your answer, but that shouldn't stop you from throwing in your two cents.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:27 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


That question was very UseNet Circa 1996.

In fact much of MetaFilter has been lately. What with the incessant Abortion blow-ups and all.
posted by tkchrist at 11:36 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that advocating violence against humans is against our guidelines

If a person is mauling a child, it's probably a given that violence against them will occur, simply to stop them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:38 AM on September 17, 2008


Shoot the hostage.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 11:40 AM on September 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Yes, it can be frustrating when most of the people in a thread give advice that you don't agree with, or even directly refute your answer, but that shouldn't stop you from throwing in your two cents.

Isn't that part of the problem, if people are throwing in their "two cents", which is more of an opinion than a fact-based answer?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:41 AM on September 17, 2008


Isn't that part of the problem, if people are throwing in their "two cents", which is more of an opinion than a fact-based answer?

Unfortunately a good chunk of askme is uninformed opinion, rather than fact.
posted by electroboy at 11:43 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


How many five-year-olds hungry, enraged Rottweilers could you take on at once?
posted by Plutor at 11:44 AM on September 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Depends.

Sexually?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:51 AM on September 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


That question was very UseNet Circa 1996.

In fact much of MetaFilter has been lately. What with the incessant Abortion blow-ups and all.


Aha! So that's why I've been suffering from a bad case of deja vu lately....
posted by Floydd at 11:54 AM on September 17, 2008


burnmp3s, Usually that method works well for me, except when it doesn't work. I'm generally okay with differing opinions, but it's harder for it to be okay to me when the subject matter (even hypothetically) pulls at my heartstrings. Owning a dog of a breed that's often considered violent (he's not) has made me more vulnerable to these specific topics and to taking them personally. I've found that in general, avoiding those kinds of discussions is better for me than trying to figure out a way to just hold out.

Brandon, no. I'm not even a real Quaker/Buddhist, but I know you can generally avoid killing, and sometimes avoid hurting folks who are violent, even sometimes animals too. There are other options. We don't live in Hammurabi's land.
posted by kalessin at 11:55 AM on September 17, 2008


Depends.

Sexually?


Well, you've got ten fingers. Stick an enraged rottweiler on each one....
posted by Floydd at 11:56 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bambinos are much sexier than Depends.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:56 AM on September 17, 2008


I know you can generally avoid killing, and sometimes avoid hurting folks who are violent, even sometimes animals too. There are other options. We don't live in Hammurabi's land.

A dog that mauls a child outside, on a public street, without provocation or reason to suspect that it was protecting its owner's property (which is how I understood the original question) is almost definitely going to be ordered destroyed by a judge.
posted by The Straightener at 12:13 PM on September 17, 2008


Straightener,

A hypothetical dog hypothetically attacks a hypothetical child in the most violent way imaginable, yes, if that all end up not being hypothetical, I would shoot my own dog if he were the dog in question.

But what worries me is that discussions like that inform our opinion of what happens in real life. In real life, yes, it happens, mauling happens to people (including kids). Dogs get violent. People and dogs get hurt.

But that kind of (hypothetical) discussion precludes gray areas where dogs get shot/destroyed/put down because someone (sometimes a kid who doesn't know any better) taunted or provoked or surprised the dog into snapping and the human usually wins (because of the law, because of our guns, because we can get pretty violent and stupid too).

And yes, I've been threatened with that, had my dog be threatened with that for no reason, when the threat was pure fabrication. So yes, I worry about it.

In asking for some tolerance and realism in the discussion, I'm saying it's not always that violent, that horrible, that bad, but if we prime ourselves to think it, it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That's what I worry about. That's what bothers me.
posted by kalessin at 12:29 PM on September 17, 2008


Isn't that part of the problem, if people are throwing in their "two cents", which is more of an opinion than a fact-based answer?

Unfortunately a good chunk of askme is uninformed opinion, rather than fact.


Opinions can be informed and fact-based. Experts can have opinions. And uninformed people can use "facts" that are actually incorrect, or use true information to give bad advice.

I agree that some bad answers in AskMe threads are uninformed rants that do not actually answer the question in any meaningful way. My point was not that anything goes and everyone with a moral stance on a particular AskMe question should bring it up, but rather that people with reasonable and helpful answers to questions shouldn't be afraid to post them just because other answerers might disagree with them.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:43 PM on September 17, 2008


I flagged that post as other before anyone answered-- one of ~10 flags I've done so far, I think-- because I thought it would become a venue for the display of sick sadistic fantasies in the guise of helpful advice.
posted by jamjam at 12:45 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


kalessin: "Beyond that, I'm pretty sure that advocating violence against humans is against our guidelines"

Really?
posted by WCityMike at 12:46 PM on September 17, 2008


Sexually?

He said hungry enraged rottweilers, not hungry engorged rottweilers.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:57 PM on September 17, 2008


I love dogs, but I hate how dog owners feel as though they can let dogs run wild and unmuzzled - an entire park (about 2 kilometers) in my city is now an off-leash zone, and I can't take my children there. And if their dog happens to come a little too close or is a little too inquisitive, the dog owner says "Oh, don't worry, they're friendly, they don't bite." I also hate how, if dogs maul a leashed dog or even a child, the dogs are not automatically destroyed.

Dogs are not people or child-surrogates; they are animals.

Thank you, MetaFilter.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:04 PM on September 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


KokuRyu, I am not that sort of dog owner. It's great to feel like you have the freedom to generalize in discussion, but maybe not so great when you imply everyone is like the worst generalizations you feel comfortable applying.

I'm one of those mythical "responsible dog owners" which is why the AskMe post was so upsetting to me. My dog doesn't deserve anything like what folks were talking about and never has. Not once. Not ever.
posted by kalessin at 1:09 PM on September 17, 2008


WCityMike, Thanks for the link. I didn't know that was okay.
posted by kalessin at 1:11 PM on September 17, 2008


I'm one of those mythical "responsible dog owners" which is why the AskMe post was so upsetting to me.

Unfortunately there are a nonzero number of criminally irresponsible dog owners, some of whom have pit bulls that have been trained to be aggressive. Dogfighting is (obviously) illegal where I live, but it's fairly common knowledge that if your dog is stolen, it's probably going to be used as pitbull bait.
posted by electroboy at 1:32 PM on September 17, 2008


electroboy, me too. I live in Baltimore. There's dogfighting and dogbaiting that's rife around here. I understand that there are folks who own/raise pitbulls in our city who drug the dogs with meth to make them even more psychotic.
posted by kalessin at 1:35 PM on September 17, 2008


an entire park (about 2 kilometers) in my city is now an off-leash zone

Oh, the humanity! An entire park Where those vicious beasts are allowed to roam free!? What ever shall we do??

If you don't likes dogs off-leash, don't go to an off-leash area. This is common sense and it's not some terrible burden on you. Whining about it makes you look like a douche-bag.

Also? Get over yourself.
posted by toomuchpete at 1:40 PM on September 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


My dog doesn't deserve anything like what folks were talking about and never has. Not once. Not ever.

So, then what's the big deal? No one's advocating randomly killing dogs. We're talking about dogs that are on the verge of killing children.
posted by Dasein at 2:37 PM on September 17, 2008


Places exist where dogs aren't immediately put down for biting someone?

It was my impression that, if a dog bit someone who was not the dog's owner, and animal control or the cops knew who the dog was, the dog was basically automatically put down. KokuRyu, is it different where you live?
posted by schroedinger at 2:50 PM on September 17, 2008


From my point of view, a hypothetical question poses an emotionally triggering question and folks start proposing violence, including outright gun slaughter, on hypothetical dogs.

I dunno, is this really a hypothetical question? To me, it seems totally within the realm of possibility that it could happen. It's not like someone's starting with a premise that could never happen ("If teleportation was possible..."), the question is just starting with a premise that is not currently happening right now.

Is "What should I do if I get locked out of my car?" a hypothetical question? Is "What should I do if part of an item of clothing catches on fire?" a hypothetical question?
posted by 23skidoo at 3:05 PM on September 17, 2008


I'm one of those mythical "responsible dog owners" which is why the AskMe post was so upsetting to me. My dog doesn't deserve anything like what folks were talking about and never has. Not once. Not ever.

If your dog never hypothetically mauls a child, he will never be hypothetically killed.
posted by desjardins at 3:16 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dogs are not people or child-surrogates; they are animals.

Actually, humans are animals too. I'm pretty sure I read that somewhere.

dogs run wild and unmuzzled - an entire park (about 2 kilometers) in my city is now an off-leash zone

Wow. Whereas, by that rationale, the entire remainder of the city is an on-leash area. Go somewhere else.

I also hate how, if dogs maul a leashed dog or even a child, the dogs are not automatically destroyed

I hate a lot of shit too but my answer is very rarely "AUTOMATICALLY KILL THE DOG". Who does the "automatic destroying" anyway? The parents or guardians? The "owner" of the attacking dog? Random passersby? Police? Storekeepers? Specially licensed Roaming Canine Execution Squads?

You said it yourself: dogs are animals. Sometimes, animals attack other animals. I dunno, it's something to do with millions of years of evolution and resultant manifestations of instinctive behaviour.

And what about humans who just randomly attack dogs? Should they be automatically destroyed also? Where do I sign up to be part of this exciting new movement? Oh, what's that? Species bias you say? One set of rules for us and another set of rules for the rest of the natural world? Because we were given dominion and are lords of all we survey and are inherently superior and should be able to do as we please? I see. Carry on, then.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:34 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, the humanity! An entire park Where those vicious beasts are allowed to roam free!? What ever shall we do??

I'm pretty sure he/she meant that the park is not an official off-leash zone but that people just take their dogs there and let them off leash, which is likely illegal.
posted by Airhen at 3:39 PM on September 17, 2008


Places exist where dogs aren't immediately put down for biting someone?

There are at least situations where dogs aren't immediately put down for biting people. My dog has bitten people before, though they've always been friends of the family / picking him up by his collar, and not serious bites.

I've also been bitten by random dogs (Ahhh, to be a paperboy again), and those dogs definitely weren't put down. If I remember right, I could have insisted that they were, but it's a choice of the bitee - they weren't a clear danger to the community, so they live.

I befriended one of the other dogs in the neighbourhood, he'd often join me on my route. Hired muscle, baby.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:54 PM on September 17, 2008


I dunno… If it was one of the neighborhood kids I see regularly taunting the pitbull on the corner getting mauled, I'd probably keep standing at my bus stop and maybe talk to the dog owners when I got home from work. I'm kinda surprised none of them have been mauled so far, but I got the hairy eye from the kids' folks when I told 'em not to poke the dog with a stick (because I may have subtly implied that this behavior implied less-than-adequate parenting skills).
posted by klangklangston at 3:55 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is always ok to seriously injure or kill a dog which is attacking a human being. End of story.

Next question?:
posted by Riemann at 4:03 PM on September 17, 2008


Don't you people watch The Dog Whisperer? Once a dog has gotten to the point where it is fearless enough to bite people, it should be considered extremely dangerous (well, depending on its size) and most likely put down. A dog who considers a child to be threatening enough to bite them should definitely be destroyed. I am not an advocate of indiscriminately destroying animals - again, I'm a buddhist who can't kill a spider - but if a domestic dog is biting people, it's suffering in a way that can't be resolved, and it's up to us to end that suffering. Biting is not natural behavior for domestic dogs.
posted by desjardins at 4:10 PM on September 17, 2008


I stand (partially) corrected. Cesar Millan is not in favor of automatically putting down dogs who bite. (See last article.) He does say that biting is not normal, either in the wild or at home, and that behavior modification needs to be handled by professionals.
posted by desjardins at 4:14 PM on September 17, 2008


Places exist where dogs aren't immediately put down for biting someone?

Yes, there are--all over the US. According to the CDC, 4.7 milliion Americans are bitten by dogs each year and 800,000 people seek medical attention. At least half those bites occur on the owner's property and a significant majority (77%) are by dogs owned by friends or family of the victim. All of these dogs are not being euthanized.

Generally, when it receives a report of a dog bite, the local animal control authority investigates the situation and makes a determination based on the circumstances. That determination is not necessarily euthanasia.
posted by weebil at 4:21 PM on September 17, 2008


this is like being upset that a hypothetical story was told where 15 year old who listens to metallica shot up a school and got charged as an adult because you have a 15 year old who listens to metallica but is a pacifist.

putting down a violent dog is a responsible thing to do. of course, in my lifetime i've seen a disproportionate amount of violent cocker spaniels rather than pit bulls.
posted by nadawi at 4:26 PM on September 17, 2008


He said hungry enraged rottweilers, not hungry engorged rottweilers.

It don't matter when it's Arcturian, baby.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:07 PM on September 17, 2008


Weebil, I recognize that every dog that bites someone is not put down. I have been bitten by dogs and they've not been put down. But that's only because I chose not to pursue that action. It's my impression that if a dog bites someone, and that person wants the dog put down, the police and animal control are on their side and the dog gets put down.
posted by schroedinger at 6:12 PM on September 17, 2008


Wait, I see you clarified that. Nevermind.
posted by schroedinger at 6:20 PM on September 17, 2008


Once a dog has gotten to the point where it is fearless enough to bite people, it should be considered extremely dangerous (well, depending on its size) and most likely put down.

No, no, no. It entirely depends on the context and the type of aggressive behavior. A dog that, say, bites someone on the hand because someone took away a bone it's gnawing on, or interferes with its eating, or gets between it and another dog who are fighting, is entirely different from, say, a dog who's mauled someone or bitten a person in the face with no provocation (usually a sign that the dog is trained for aggression or off-kilter, emotionally/mentally). And dogs might totally justifiably bite humans out of self defense, which is why it's integral to teach children how to interact with strange animals (calmly, with no sudden movements, and to always, always ask the owner before touching the animal even if it's not a "vicious" breed or looks friendly).

putting down a violent dog is a responsible thing to do.

Not only responsible, but in many cases the most humane thing to do for both the animal and the people involved. In high school, my mother and I adopted a big, sweet-looking lab mix from a local no-kill shelter. Though in many ways a great dog, she had extreme dog-aggression which the shelter hadn't warned us about and also weirdly snarled when people got close to her face. About six months into ownership, she bit me while I was sleeping. And then two weeks later, she bit one of my friends who leaned over to pet her (both incidents required stitches; I still have scars). My mother was, understandably, incredibly upset, but the shelter pressured us to take free obedience classes and have "aggression training" for her and pretty much implied it was our fault. The free obedience lessons were totally traumatic--she'd spend the whole time snarling and screaming at the dogs around us, no matter what we did. Eventually, our vet convinced us that it wasn't our fault and to pressure the shelter into taking her back--turns out they didn't want to because they knew they wouldn't be able to adopt her out and would have to put her down, which I assume they did. The whole experience was really incredibly terrible, but I've learned that a dog prone to certain types of aggression is likely mentally ill, and often really only suitable to be raised, possibly, by a professional. Which most dog owners aren't.

I do think it's necessary to reiterate, though, that pit bulls are rotties are not the only dogs prone to strange aggression. In fact, pit bulls are often dog-aggressive, but person-friendly (makes sense in terms of dog fighting, actually) There are many examples of dog attacks with other breeds--cockers, chow chows, etc.

I also think it's necessary to say again that kids should really be taught to respect the space of a doggie from as early an age as possible. That means not charging at strange dogs on the street to play with them or pet them, and asking the owner before touching or even getting close. Of course, standing still and screaming at them (which one kid did with my totally harmless doggy a few years ago because "she's afraid of dogs") isn't much better either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:03 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


And what about humans who just randomly attack dogs? Should they be automatically destroyed also?

And what about humans who equate the life of a human with the life of a dog?
posted by spaltavian at 7:20 PM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Pit bulls get a bad rap because people often assume the dog that attacked them was a pit. I bring you: Can you spot the pitbull?
posted by Bookhouse at 7:24 PM on September 17, 2008


schroedinger: Certainly the victim's wishes may influence or even have a formal role in the decision-making process, but the decision to euthanize is supposed to be based on the facts of the case. (Also, there are cases where the animal control officer or court do not believe the circumstances merit euthanasia, but the owner chooses to put the dog down for their own peace of mind.)
posted by weebil at 7:26 PM on September 17, 2008


I agreed with you about the violence in thread Kalessin, but my question was not chat. There have been several such incidents recently and it was more than idle curiosity on my part.
posted by Neiltupper at 8:03 PM on September 17, 2008


>Am I misunderstanding the point and protocols of AskMe again?

Yes. Most of your comment was off-topic. Also, you're over-reacting.
posted by pompomtom at 9:56 PM on September 17, 2008


You're "give dogs a chance" bs would have been relevant if the question hadn't been specifically about a dog mauling a child. As it stands:

"Do me a favor and don't read me as stupid for objecting to lethal measures. Yes, if dog were savaging someone, kid or adult, my response would be very different from when a dog is starting a fight or in a fight with another dog. I just think some of the immediately lethal-for-dog suggestions here in this thread may be a little extreme."

So, what does your answer have to do with the question? Nothing.
posted by puke & cry at 11:22 PM on September 17, 2008


I swear I've been fucking up that your/you're thing all night.
posted by puke & cry at 11:23 PM on September 17, 2008


Now that I reread it, your answer has zero relevance on the question. It's great that you were able to diffuse a dog fight with a rap on the head, but I don't think you're pitbull being a big sweety has fuck-all to do with the question as asked.
posted by puke & cry at 11:32 PM on September 17, 2008


I also hate how, if dogs maul a leashed dog or even a child, the dogs are not automatically destroyed

I hate a lot of shit too but my answer is very rarely "AUTOMATICALLY KILL THE DOG". Who does the "automatic destroying" anyway? The parents or guardians? The "owner" of the attacking dog? Random passersby? Police? Storekeepers? Specially licensed Roaming Canine Execution Squads?


FWIW, where I live if a dog bites somebody it is quarantined for a certain period of time. The incident is investigated, and if the dog is determined to be vicious, it is destroyed, usually by an animal control officer. The owner can also face criminal and civil action, depending on the circumstances of the case.

If I was in that Askme situation, I would most definitely kill that dog immediately.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 3:55 AM on September 18, 2008


Folks, note that Neiltupper is the OP on the AskMe thread, and he's posted a comment here.

Also, in followup, let me state that I actually do think that if no other alternative exists (sometimes there are no-kill shelters that intervene, or other "safe spaces" that a dog can be sent to, or possibilities of retraining), a dog that has been established to be violent should be killed.

Let me also restate that if my dog mauled anyone, I would personally kill the fucker or arrange to have him killed.

(I don't like to mince words and say "euthanized" or "destroyed". I prefer the word "kill", since we all know what it means and what the consequences are.)

That said, Neiltupper has provided reason that the post isn't chatfilter, and I remain dismayed that there were so many suggestions/responses to kill the hypothetical dog mauling the hypothetical child. But maybe I'm just that sort of guy, preferring lesser violent actions to more violent ones. Also, I'm comfortable dealing with dogs, even big, violent ones, and I see dogs as something more than just animals, sometimes. I recognize that we do not all agree with that assessment.

Finally, I should say that I was in a mode yesterday where I was not at my emotional best and, now that I'm better rested, am happy to take lumps for having brought my discomfort up with y'all.
posted by kalessin at 5:01 AM on September 18, 2008


It makes me a bit sad to see that by my count, pit bulls are mentioned about 30 times in that thread. I would think that particular myth, that all pit bulls are aggressive and should be banned, would have lost it's legs by now, but I guess not.

So for those of you that are still convinced they are evil incarnate, I'll give you what you want: Pit bull Viciously Attacks Baby.
posted by quin at 9:01 AM on September 18, 2008


Dogs have no rights.

All dogs, small or large, have the potential to injure someone, even if they are merely exuberant and not aggressive. Dogs are pack animals and they need to learn that all humans outrank them in the pack order.

If I cannot control my dog, I have no right to criticize what other people do to my dog in order to defend themselves. Dog owners should not allow their "friendly inquisitive" dog to approach a child, even in an off-leash park, and should recall the dog back to their side or keep the dog leashed at all times out in public.

Even if one takes a bone away from a dog or intereferes with its eating, the dog should never ever snap at a human. If it does, it should be considered a dangerous dog.

If there is an unwanted dog running free on my property, I have every right to shoot the dog.
posted by angrybeaver at 9:46 AM on September 18, 2008


I don't understand, kalessin, how you state that if your dog mauled anyone, you would kill or have him killed, but at the same time you are appalled by all the responses in the AskMe thread saying that a dog mauling a child should be killed. I'm aware of cognitive dissonance, but your position just strikes me funny.
posted by owtytrof at 10:03 AM on September 18, 2008


I'm pretty sure he/she meant that the park is not an official off-leash zone but that people just take their dogs there and let them off leash, which is likely illegal.

Then you're "pretty sure" (s)he meant something completely the opposite of what (s)he wrote, which was: "an entire park (about 2 kilometers) in my city is now an off-leash zone". I'm not sure what "an off-leash zone" is if it's not an area determined by the government where dogs are permitted to be off-leash.

Assuming it means something else is a little silly.

Even if (s)he did mean what you said... if there's one place in the city where dog owners take their dogs, and you don't like dogs, go somewhere else. It's not rocket science.

You don't see me sitting in the McDonald's playland and then bitching on MeTa about poorly behaved, screaming children. Same thing.
posted by toomuchpete at 10:43 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


owtytrof, my dog is part of my pack. He has no leeway to make the choice to snap at someone, maul them or eat their faces. That's a pack dynamic. If he takes that decision-making on and acts independently, I have to beat him down or kill him. That's pack dynamics, and has little bearing on this discussion about general dangerous dog handling policy.

That's where the cognitive dissonance is.

To be honest, if anyone's got to kill my dog, I'd rather it be me, because he's my pack, and I take care of pack business.

In policy making, though, I think it's better to be careful of dogs and dog owners if possible, and make decisions about whether dogs are violent and about killing them if necessary after the heated fact of "oh shit there's a dog mauling that kid/person, I have to find a gun/stick/club/car and kill the fucking thing" instead of while in it.
posted by kalessin at 11:52 AM on September 18, 2008


Dogs have no rights.

Yes they do, except in your magical "nothing that I don't care about matters" world.
posted by languagehat at 11:52 AM on September 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like how toomuchpete called me a douche-bag (I wonder if he knows what that is) and told me to "get over myself".
posted by KokuRyu at 12:47 PM on September 18, 2008


Wow, languagehat, where do you get that "magical 'nothing I don't care about matters world'" from what I said? Given your reputation on this site, I thought you would have been above putting words into people's mouths.

Dogs are chattel. Property. Livestock. They do have some legal protections under the law but I don't see how they have rights of any kind. What rights would you extend to animals?
posted by angrybeaver at 12:56 PM on September 18, 2008


Thanks for the clarification, kalessin. I see where you're coming from now.
posted by owtytrof at 1:15 PM on September 18, 2008


Geez, angrybeaver, you post a deliberately provocative comment like "Dogs have no rights" and you expect... what? Everyone to gasp and bow before your mighty insight? You yourself admit they "do have some legal protections under the law" but add that you "don't see how they have rights of any kind." Well, I could say the same of you.
posted by languagehat at 3:30 PM on September 18, 2008


Double geez, languagehat. You take issue with my statement that "dogs have no rights" with no argument beyond "yes they do" while ignoring the rest of my comment and throw in a personal attack. When I follow up that dogs do have some legal protections under the law, as I thought that was what had aggrieved you, you don't respond to that but launch yet another personal attack.

I don't know why you think I expect everyone to gasp and bow before my mighty insight. I thought you were a bright and articulate bloke; now I'm having doubts about that.

I have the right to life, liberty and security according to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, no matter what some hat on Metafilter may think. Again, dogs enjoy no such rights.
posted by angrybeaver at 5:29 PM on September 18, 2008


How do the 'rights' you have differ from 'legal protections under the law'?
posted by Pyry at 6:06 PM on September 18, 2008


Dog owners should not allow their "friendly inquisitive" dog to approach a child, even in an off-leash park, and should recall the dog back to their side or keep the dog leashed at all times out in public.

Nope, sorry, you're wrong. Off-leash parks are designated areas where dogs are legally permitted to be off-leash. In fact, most parks' rules explicitly state that dogs MAY NOT be leashed within the off-leash area. Dogs are required to be under voice-control of the owner, but are not required to be called away from people or other dogs. Most parks also strongly discourage or even prohibit small children from entering the off-leash area for the protection of both the dogs and the children.

In areas where a dog is required to be on-leash, I agree with you that owners should not allow their dog to approach a child. Parents shouldn't let their "friendly inquisitive" child approach a dog either.
posted by weebil at 6:26 PM on September 18, 2008


You take issue with my statement that "dogs have no rights" with no argument beyond "yes they do"

And you've provided no argument beyond "no they don't." I thought, and continue to think, your assertion stupid and trollish and undeserving of detailed response. (Note: your assertion, not you; this is not a personal attack.) Descartes happily vivisected animals; perhaps you'd like to return to those happy days?
posted by languagehat at 6:37 PM on September 18, 2008


How do the 'rights' you have differ from 'legal protections under the law'?

If there is no difference, then Black people did not have the right to freedom of movement, association, etc., etc. during slavery. It depends on your construction of rights, but I like one where they did have the same rights as everyone else but these rights were unfortunately not protected by law.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 6:50 PM on September 18, 2008


Ok, let me clarify that statement. Animals have no legal rights. They do have legal protection. They are property. This is not argument, it is not a matter of opinion. It is law in the United States and Canada and probably most if not all jurisdictions worldwide.

Languagehat, I never said "no they don't". I only made my initial argument which you never bothered to rebut, and clarified my statement twice now.

With regard to Descartes, that is something that I find quite horrifying. Still horrifying is the animal testing and cruelty towards animals that goes on nowadays despite our modern enlightenment.

This page from the American Kennel Club may be of interest to many.
posted by angrybeaver at 8:41 PM on September 18, 2008


weebil, I think we go to different types of dog parks. I hated the dog parks in Seattle as they tended to be tiny fenced-off areas not even a quarter acre in size where owners would stand and watch their dogs run around. I can understand why dogs were not permitted to be leashed in those parks and children prohibited. The dog park three blocks from my home is about five acres, unfenced, has multiple trails, a creek running through it and borders a high school. Students and cyclists and small children routinely travel through the park with very few problems. I have never seen a dog park in British Columbia similar to the fenced-off areas that I see frequently in the United States.
posted by angrybeaver at 8:56 PM on September 18, 2008


Here is the smallest dog park I have ever seen in Vancouver, which is bordered by busy urban streets on all four sides and there is no fence. It is easily four times the size of any dog park that I have ever seen in Seattle.
posted by angrybeaver at 9:06 PM on September 18, 2008


angrybeaver: Definitely different types of dog parks. We do have a 2.5-acre fenced park in the suburbs here, but most of our parks are much smaller. All the official parks I know of in the area are fenced with the exception of the dog beach. I'd love to have bigger park space, but a small area is better than none.

I apologize for the tone of my previous comment. Upon reread, it was a bit harsh.

On preview: We have folks here who have been trying to get an unfenced off-leash area like those you have in Vancouver sanctioned by the city for several years. The city won't approve it for liability reasons.
posted by weebil at 9:35 PM on September 18, 2008


The two-kilometer leash-free zone is municipally-sanctioned as a dog park. The issue I have with it is that the park is one of the nicest in my town, and runs along the top of a waterfront cliff with a nice view. It is *the* destination in town, and it's basically dog territory. I would not take my toddler there.

It's no big deal - I'm not complaining exactly - but I kind of wish another area was designated as a leash-free zone... If you want to let your dog off the leash so much, move out of the city.

By the way, I am expressing an opinion. These words will not harm your dog or affect leash-free ordinances in your community. If you disagree with my opinion (I'm thinking of you, you pompous and intolerant dogfucker), please do not resort to personal attacks. Because I like dogs.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:14 PM on September 18, 2008


I don't get it. If you love dogs, why do you think friendly, inquisitive, non-biting dogs shouldn't be allowed near your children?
posted by team lowkey at 11:03 PM on September 18, 2008


If you want to let your dog off the leash so much, move out of the city.

Being rural, I take exception to that. People still have to control their animals when they don't live in the city. If you move to my area and let your dog run loose, it'll either be shot by a local, or "arrested". It's not ok to let your dog run loose ANYWHERE, but on your own property, and unless you have exceptional fences, you have to be there, or the dog needs to be leashed. Dogs are not welcome to cavort through the woods harrassing the deer and rabbits.

Folks are so surprised when they come here as tourists (Gulf Island in BC), and they aren't welcome to get out of the car and unhook Rover's leash, saying "run free, oh my canine friend". In fact, it may be even more rigid here than in the city, because there are no off-leash areas at all.

"In control of your dog at all times", does not mean it's pretty well trained and you can see the animal.

I love dogs; loving them is all about keeping them safe. That's the bargain. We control their lives completely, so we do an excellent job of it.
posted by reflecked at 1:25 AM on September 19, 2008


If you disagree with my opinion (I'm thinking of you, you pompous and intolerant dogfucker), please do not resort to personal attacks.

If you disagree with personal attacks, do not make them in your entreaties to others not to make them.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:17 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't get it. If you love dogs, why do you think friendly, inquisitive, non-biting dogs shouldn't be allowed near your children?

Because even friendly dogs can cause harm? The people upstairs have a pitbull, and it is a nice, friendly pooch, but "friendly" for an 85 lb pitbull that doesn't understand the concept of "Off!" has scratched and bruised me. And I'm a grown woman- certainly he would knock a child right over.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:48 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


reflecked speaks the truth.

However, people who shoot 14-week old Jack Russell puppies in the face at point-blank range on public roads are pricks.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2008/09/16/bc-welland-do-shot-quadra-island.html
posted by angrybeaver at 8:35 AM on September 19, 2008


angrybeaver: Ok, let me clarify that statement. Animals have no legal rights. They do have legal protection.

I'm late to the thread and we've moved past this, but as a lawyer I have absolutely no idea what this means and I'm curious what a lay person thinks it means. Dogs have legal rights. They cannot enforce those rights in court, because they can't talk (of course) but their agents have standing to sue on their behalf in appropriate situations. Leona Helmsley famously left her dog Trouble $12 million in her will recently. The bequest was attacked, and subsequently limited to $2 million, but it was upheld. Section 408 of the Uniform Trust Act specifically makes bequests to pets enforceable. I have trouble seeing how this is not a "legal right" of the pet. There are others as well, some of which could be seen as the rights of dog owners and others as the rights of animals to proper care and protection, but this one comes immediately to mind. Once the owner is dead, whose right is the right to enforce the bequest, if not the pet's? (Note that it is NOT the right of the trustee or caregiver, though it is the obligation of those surrogates to enforce the right; the law makes that clear.)

Is your objection that the dogs cannot enforce their rights without a human surrogate? I'm genuinely curious.
posted by The Bellman at 8:51 AM on September 19, 2008


Sigh, I thought I had made a simple intuitive statement but apparently not. I am not a lawyer so obviously am unqualified to define the difference between legal rights and legal protections or even if such a distinction exists in the law.

Let me put it this way. Does an animal have a right to life? If so, then we all need to become vegetarians. I can't euthanize my dog.
posted by angrybeaver at 9:25 AM on September 19, 2008


I don't think its a simple question, angrybeaver, that's why I asked. I think the answer is that dogs have a right to life. In fact, in most states, they have legal rights that go substantially beyond that and extend to a right to be humanely treated, as Michael Vick would no doubt explain from his prison cell. The question is where those rights end. Dogs don't have the right to attack humans without provocation. Of course, neither do other humans. Sometimes, rightly or wrongly, the state executes humans who kill other humans. An argument could be made that dogs are deserving of no better than that; on the other hand an argument could also be made (based on culpability) to the contrary.

I'm not really arguing about that stuff, and I certainly didn't mean to make it a personal attack of any kind, so I hope it's not coming off like that. I'm an IP lawyer, largely, which means I spend a lot of time thinking and arguing about the difference between what people think of as "rights" and what people think of as "legal rights". [See, my endless thread about whether "copyright infringement" is "theft".] It rings a little bell for me, so I thought I'd ask even in this odd context -- I didn't mean to come off rude and I hope I didn't offend.
posted by The Bellman at 9:43 AM on September 19, 2008


No I didn't think you were rude at all. I do believe that animals should be humanely treated but have very few if any rights beyond that. My dog is my property. If I want to, I should be able to kill my perfectly healthy 16 month old puppy for no reason whatsoever without interference from anyone. Not that I would ever do such a thing, but I should be able to dispose of my property as I see fit.
posted by angrybeaver at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2008


KokuRyu: there's a huge difference between complaining that the government decided that something is a dog park and complaining that it's being used as the government intends.

As someone who claims to like dogs, you should appreciate how vital exercise is for their physical and mental health. Exercising on a leash is not something that is always practical or possible for the owners, and not nearly as engaging for the dogs.

The government gave dog-owners in your city a place where they can take their dogs to exercise and play. You might not like it, but to excoriate dog owners for taking advantage of something to which they are legally entitled is silly (and that's putting it nicely). Instead of just stopping at silly, however, you went one step further and used, as justification for your criticism, the fact that you want to take your kids to that park (cry me a river). As though your individual desires should trump the legal entitlements of countless dog owners. It's at that point that you start sounding like a douche-bag.

I'm sorry if that hurts your feelings, but if you'd prefer not to have it pointed out that you sound like a d-bag, the best course of action is to stop sounding like one.

Works like a charm. You'll thank me later.

As to my alleged intolerance, I plead guilty. It is true that I don't tolerate idiocy or douche-baggery well, but I'm working on it, I promise.
posted by toomuchpete at 10:33 AM on September 19, 2008


The video that Quin posted states that "only 9 children each year are killed by dog attacks." Doesn't that make everyone feel relieved?
posted by Neiltupper at 1:53 PM on September 19, 2008


Actually, yeah. It does. Here are some other death causes in the U.S.

Bitten or struck by dog - 26 deaths (one would presume that 9 of these are the children)
Contact with powered lawnmower - 27 deaths
Contact with hornets, wasps and bees - 54 deaths
Contact with hot tap-water - 55 deaths
Fall from tree - 88 deaths
Fall involving ice-skates, skis, roller-skates or skateboards - 97 deaths


So you are almost four times more likely to die on roller-skates (and the like) than you are to be attacked and killed by a dog. And that doesn't even begin to approach the really dangerous stuff people have to worry about trying to murder them, like:

Abnormalities of breathing - 215 deaths (sneezing, wheezing, etc)
Drowning and submersion while in bath-tub - 317 deaths

posted by quin at 3:02 PM on September 19, 2008


...So... it might be a better question on AskMe what we should do to prepare for bathtub drownings, sneezing-related suffocation, and ice skates, roller skates and skateboards?
posted by kalessin at 7:34 AM on September 20, 2008


Dear AskMe,

On my "be prepared" list is falling off of chairs, which causes more than 6 times as many deaths per year in the US as dog attacks do. I've read several good article on ways to handle the situation if I fall off of a chair, as well as literature on falling off of other types of furniture, but that's not what I'm looking for.

Let's say I'm driving down a residential street and I come across a child who appears to be falling off of his or her chair. What would be some effective ways to prevent death from chair-fall with common articles available in such a situation?

PS: I'm also not concerned at this time about ways to prevent death from car accidents and drowning, the two leading causes of accidental death in children. I'm only concerned with childhood chair falls. Thanks!
posted by decathecting at 1:40 AM on September 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


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