Dog attack.
September 16, 2008 11:13 PM   Subscribe

On my "be prepared" list are dangerous dog attacks (specifically Pit Bulls and Rottweilers) . I've read several good article on ways to handle the situation if I am attacked, but that's not what I'm looking for.

Let's say I'm driving down a residential street and I come across such a dog mauling a child. I would have the advantage (for a short time anyway) of surprise and of relative freedom of movement - i.e. the dog's attention is focused on the child.

What would be some effective ways to immobilize the dog with common articles available in such a situation?
posted by Neiltupper to Grab Bag (49 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I've always heard to grab the dog by the hind legs and basically yank/toss as hard as you can, although I've never tried it myself. For what that's worth...
posted by cdmwebs at 11:50 PM on September 16, 2008


I live next door to a Pitt Bull and saw him raised as a puppy; he is quiet, not much of a barker, mostly outside and will come to me in a friendly way, let me play with him, and watches me with little interest when I'm outside.

But the fence between us is a metal and jumpable fence made of cast iron he can get most of his head and neck through, and I have nieces and nephews. I'll be watching this thread with interest.

My honest inclination is to say tear gas (the canisters you get at army/navy stores) but there is a specific kind I can't remember that allows you to aim it away from you, for less chance of blowback. You have to be careful not to get hurt yourself; the aim is to get yourself/the child away without further attack and if you kill the dog (depending on where you live) there are legal issues bound to arise.

Anyone got something better than tear gas? I'm all ears.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:15 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


If the dog locks on, you probably won't be able to detach its jaws by yourself, try grabbing it by the collar or scruff of the neck and lifting it off the ground - depending on the breed of the dog and how well it is fed, even a very strong dog is likely to weigh only around 30KG. If this doesn't work, as awkward as it sounds, I think you should go straight for the dog's arsehole.

Once it detaches from the child, you have a new set of problems to overcome.

You're probably not equipped to fight the dog, and you certainly can't run from the dog, so you need to make it clear without doing either of those things that it's not going to be worth being aggressive with you.

I would try to keep something between myself and the dog - anything will do, you just want something you can use to distract the dog, and which the dog will have to bite before it can bite you, a bag would do - and keep the dog in front of me.

I don't know how much experience you have with dogs, if you're a long time dog owner, you might be able to pacify the animal with the right noises and posturing, but if you're as afraid of dogs as your post indicates, you probably don't actually know very many, so your most effective weapon will be loud noise, shout at the animal, use normal dog commands like "stop" or "sit", sounds it will probably associate with its master. And if you can confuse it further with whatever you're using as a shield, you might be able to make it withdraw.

(If you're on the dogs property it will be extra agressive, and very unlikely to withdraw, so you'll want to move away to a safe distance taking the child with you.)

It would probably be a good idea to call 111/999/0118 999 881 999 119 725 3/911 before engaging with the animal - I doubt you'll have the time for that if you see a child being attacked - but the idea is that other people will be on the way to help, when the animal takes you down.
posted by The Monkey at 12:41 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Assuming you've got normal shoes on, you kick the dog as hard as you can, right in the muzzle. If you can't do that due to the mauling, follow cdmwebs' advice and do the yank and toss. It'll probably come back, which is when you kick it.

As well, yell as loud as you can, in the deepest possible voice, for someone to call an ambulance. A child screaming doesn't always get attention, because kids scream all the time for lots of reasons. You want a deep voice to give the dog even the slightest hesitation.

Tear gas or pepper spray in this particular type of case should not be used - irritants being spread into open wounds is a bad idea. Especially when you factor in the risk of infection that comes from god bites and the dangers of tear gas to immuno-compromised individuals.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:45 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you're really concerned about this kind of thing, then you need to look into "concealed carry".

Don't take a knife into a gunfight.
posted by Class Goat at 1:23 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


By the way, in a lot of states carrying teargas is legally exactly the same as carrying a gun, and you need the same license in order to do it.
posted by Class Goat at 1:28 AM on September 17, 2008


Here's some info What to do if a Pit Bull Attacks. This person does not claim to be an expert... but part of what she says is, (after immobilizing the dog's head in the manner she describes), "If you are alone, you will have to yell for help. Once someone arrives, DO NOT let that person begin whacking the dog in the head with anything. Trust me--pit bulls could give a shit about being hit in the head.Really. It will only make them tighten their grip on whatever they're holding."

I think this is true... same with kicking, I'd imagine.

I've read about the method of lifting the hind legs, and my entirely inexpert feeling is that I believe I would try that first, under the assumption that the dog would hopefully drop the child in order to try to snap back at whatever is holding its legs... but, at any rate, since it will be entirely off-balanced by this, I can't imagine the dog would be able to shake the child back and forth, which is the greatest danger in a dog attack. But I wouldn't then fling the dog away, because I assume that unless he was knocked unconscious, he would come charging right back. I'd continue to hold him with his hind legs in the air screaming bloody murder 'til someone came to help restrain the animal.

and Ah, here is something else (about dog-on-dog attacks, but would work with child, I would assume):

"# If the attacking dog already has his/her teeth in a locked bite, place your palm on the dog's snout and with your other hand pinch just behind the snout. The dog will open its mouth to breathe. Be quick and forceful. When the dog opens its mouth pull back your dog and your hands quickly. Turn away and leave asap. If the dog bites you, do the same with your palm and pinch just behind the nostrils. The dog will open its mouth. Pull away and leave.

# If necessary, grab the tail of the more aggressive dog and stick your thumb or a finger into its anus. This will almost certainly make the dog release its bite without harming the dog. Also, you can grab the hind legs of the attacking dog and lift them up. You then control the dog and keep it from attacking since you have its 'thrusters'."

First time I've seen the Anus thing. That would certainly make me stop biting, yes it would.
posted by taz at 1:30 AM on September 17, 2008


This attacking animal has a child in it's maw, it's time to get redneck, to get the animals complete attention.

Jam your fingers into the dogs eyes and give a few twists. Not a pleasant idea, but I'm quite certain that it'd be very effective.

Quite frankly, I'd rather shove my fingers into a dogs eyes than up its ass, but I guess that's just personal preference.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:51 AM on September 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah right!

Having been in a dog fight, the absolutely last thing I would do would be stick my finger up its arse! The second last thing I would do is put my fingers anywhere near its snout/mouth! As for grabbing it's legs and pulling; dont even try it! I got two fingers slit open after trying this, the dog just turned round and bit me!

You do not want to fight a dog. They are much better equiped than you are, much faster and much more viscious. All you need to do is to distract the dog. Shout, yell, make it clear that you are the boss, and you are demanding its attention. Kick it- hard, anywhere. Just lead with your feet. Keep your hands out of the way!

Once it disengages then back off, stop being agressive but keep shouting.
posted by BadMiker at 2:03 AM on September 17, 2008


Raymond Rivera Jr. isn't afraid of pit bulls. He's going to receive the Western Region Hero award from the National Association of Letter Carriers for saving a child's life from a pit bull attack.
posted by plokent at 3:02 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a lovely old golden retriever, last year he was savaged by a pitbull type while out walking.

No, no one has the foresight to stick finger up arse (The James Herriot Manoeuvre).

I did foolishly attempt to prize the bull terrier's mouth open, and received a nasty slash on my finger.

Once I convinced the owner that my dog was not a fighting dog- the owner pulled his pit bull off.

Now, I just avoid them wherever possible.
posted by mattoxic at 3:41 AM on September 17, 2008


BadMiker, just a clarification about the pulling the legs thing: are you talking about just pulling the legs, or actually lifting the dog up by his two back legs so that he only has his front two feet on the ground, sort of wheelbarrow style? Because that's the technique I've read about (and hope I never have to try).

I agree that both the anus thing and the snout thing sound terribly, terribly dangerous. But I think kicking is mostly out for me, at least, since I'm usually wearing shorts or a skirt and sandals... plus, not very strong.
posted by taz at 4:07 AM on September 17, 2008


I'm curious: would it be hard to slit a dog's throat with a pocket knife? Would it disable it quickly enough that the risk of a bite would be minimal?
posted by Coventry at 4:13 AM on September 17, 2008


For what it's worth, on an episode of The Dog Whisperer my wife and I watched a couple of weeks ago, two pits got into a scrap, and he did exactly what others are saying here -- grabbed the rear legs and lifted them several feet off the ground. I think the justification was that it robs them of much of their leverage.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 4:23 AM on September 17, 2008


I've gotta agree if this is some theoretical "learn how to be prepared" plan the best thing for you to do is get a concealed carry permit and learn how to shoot. I'd think a body shot would make any dog disengage even if locked on.

According to what I have read, most dog attacks are by unaltered males, and only 10-20% of attacked occur off the owner's property. So be most alert when visiting friends with dogs, especially if not neutered.
posted by miss tea at 4:29 AM on September 17, 2008


You are thinking wrong. If you come across a dog mauling a child, you should not think about immobilizing the dog. You should think about killing it, and attempt to kill it.

Kicking the dog as hard as you can seems a good start.

Do you have a bat or other large, sturdy stick? Is there an open garage nearby that's likely to have a toolbox? Then hit the dog with a bat or axe or axe handle or sledge or whatever, aiming for vital parts and to break its legs. I assure you that if an adult man swings a bat or axe handle or heavy wrench as hard as he can and hits a pit bull in the head, the dog will care. Briefly. The trick is just hitting and kicking as hard as you can instead of pulling your punches.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:04 AM on September 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Call 911( if you have a cell phone); blow a whistle (if you carry one: many women do).
posted by Carol Anne at 5:30 AM on September 17, 2008


I encountered two, loose, mean Rottweilers on a run recently, and now carry a collapsible police baton and 10% pepper spray on my runs. I used a 'bigger dog' attitude and the only thing I had on me... my leatherman, to face them down and slowly retreat. I was 5 miles out of town in a rural area with no one nearby, except perhaps the owners of the dogs; way way up in the woods cutting firewood. Very touch and go.

As an inventor and engineer, living in a state where buying guns is permit free and concealed carry laws do not exist, I declined to purchase a gun when deciding on an approach to this situation. (Frankly, it would only be useful with the dog owner, who recognizes what it is; the dogs surely do not.)

A gun is useless to most people, because of two things... loose bullets and adrenaline. Having fired a pistol at a mostly stationary dog (9mm, 15 shots) and not connecting, I can tell you that the dog could care less about the noise. I am a decent shot, as well. Unless you are point blank, you are gonna probably miss.

My "plan" for the next similar encounter is to use both. Dogs recognize sticks and most will stand down if threatened with them. Once they are still, it's pepper spray in the eyes. This is to train the owners but should have a deterrent effect on pooch, too.

In the hypothetical situation described, find a lethal instrument... tire iron, car jack, pole, whatever, and kill the dog. Repeat; kill the dog. Beat it to death, stab it, kick it, stomp it, but do not minimize the threat presented. Many people die annually from dog attacks.

Deal with the fallout later, but disable the dog. Use any tool available.
posted by FauxScot at 5:40 AM on September 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


if an adult man swings a bat or axe handle...

But also, just for the sake of the wider audience - I'm very interested in non-adult-man options, as I'm one of those, except for the "adult" part. I get crazy fearless in some threatening situations, and I've faced down a pack of dogs before - and got lucky, but I worry about this sort of thing quite a bit because there are a lot of loose dogs here.

I usually carry both a bottle of water and a squirt bottle of vinegar when walking my dog, hoping that I might be able to shock an attacking dog with a dose of water or some vinegar in the eyes (pepper spray, and certainly guns, are illegal here)... but a situation with a very strong, very determined "attack" dog (I know... just meaning, possibly a dog who has been trained or bred to be aggressive or whatever) ... well, I don't think my foofoo arsenal would stand up. So far, the best I've got in reserve in that situation is the back-legs thing.
posted by taz at 5:41 AM on September 17, 2008


Get around to a side of the dog where your line of attack doesn't face the person being attacked. Shoot the dog anywhere but the jaws to avoid shooting the victim by mistake. Repeat until the dog lets go or until there is not much dog left. Failing that, take the biggest knife you have at hand and try to cut something vital in its neck or cause so much blood loss the dog passes out and dies. Failing that, try to beat it to death or crush its head.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:56 AM on September 17, 2008


In the US, a concealed carry permit (not even needed in some states if you are just keeping the gun in your car) is the right answer. But the asker shows a non-US location, where the gun laws are in many ways more restrictive, so that's probably not a very helpful answer.

If you are large, and strong, and brave, and willing to risk some very serious personal injury, the next best thing would be to start hitting the dog as hard as you can (while yelling for help, of course) with a crowbar or other club. Not gentle taps — you want to hit that fucker as hard as you can and hopefully kill or disable it.

Mace/pepper spray/etc will hit the child as much as it hits the dog, and won't necessarily make a dog that has clamped down let go.

Grabbing the dog by the back legs may cause it to let go of the child, or may not, but you then are facing the problem of how to let go. Here is an upsetting video showing exactly this problem: a dog bites someone, it is made to let go (twice) by grabbing the back legs, and both times it turns around and chews up the leg holders. (The video ends with the dog being shot and run over, but still surviving to run away. Dogs are tough.)
posted by Forktine at 5:56 AM on September 17, 2008


I and my puppy were attacked by a pit bull on our road a few years ago. I took the hit for the puppy and kicked the attacker in the side and screamed in the pit bulls ear as loud as possible "LET GO YOU ASSHOLE." He backed off immediately. I ended up with five stitches. The pit bull ended up dead.
posted by Xurando at 6:05 AM on September 17, 2008


But Forktine... she let go - it looked pretty effective up to that point (though it took her long enough to do it o_0). Don't let go! Scream for help until help comes, and don't let go, I say.
posted by taz at 6:09 AM on September 17, 2008


The one time I happened to be in the middle of a dog fight in a dog park between a pit bull and another dog, I picked them both up by the scruff of the necks and by then the rest of the owners were on me/them.

It was effective, at least for a few seconds.

When two rotties (off-leash) were trying to get into a fight with our akita (who is well-behaved and was leashed on one of those retractable leashes), my sweetie whacked the shit out of the rotties in the head with the weighty handle of our dog's leash. Got yelled at by the owner (who is/was stupid), but it did keep the rotties off.

As a dog owner, I ask that non-lethal methods be used first if at all possible. While I appreciate that there's not always enough time to determine whether non-lethal methods are at hand, and part of what I take on as a dog owner is the (very small) risk that my dog will get out and away unsupervised, and further there is a zero-tolerance gun-armed citizen who will kill him for that, I'd rather it didn't happen.

Pits are, if brought up well and trained well, quite sweet dogs. Most dogs are. It's a shame that we end up feeling like we have to kill the ones who've been tortured all their lives, are possibly drugged (depending on the city/neighborhood) and essentially psychotic. At lesat some dogs can usually be reasoned with.

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.
posted by kalessin at 6:15 AM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


yeah, kalessin is totally right. Lethal measures should only be used if the dog is actively mauling someone. granted, there are sometimes circumstances where it's hard to tell. But don't shoot a dog for scrapping with another dog, unless it's something like a giant dog biting a mini chihuahua.

Anyway, my reading of the OP was that he was specifically talking about dog-on-person attacks.
posted by miss tea at 6:25 AM on September 17, 2008


Dogs recognize sticks and most will stand down if threatened with them.

Only if they have been hit with them before. That's why in poor rural areas and in most developing countries stooping down as if to pick up a rock will make almost every dog back off — they have been hit with rocks often before. But if you tried that with a threatening dog in this neighborhood, it would think you were offering to play fetch.

The intertubes are full of dog attack videos. Here is another, where a man hitting the dog as hard as he can with some sort of pipe (it might be the dog-catcher's neck grabber thing) only makes the dog let go for a moment, and return for more biting. I've seen this happen, where a dog takes tremendous damage and keeps coming back.

The point being, it is not always as simple as making the dog stop biting the child, and all of a sudden everything is over.
posted by Forktine at 6:41 AM on September 17, 2008


Screwdriver in the eye. Or try to break its back with a heavy stick.
posted by electroboy at 7:07 AM on September 17, 2008


Pepper spray is what I've been told. I would worry about pulling the dog off a child by the hind legs because it might provoke them to pull back in the other direction (tug-of-war behavior is pretty instinctual in dogs, and even in play can result in some aggression/nipping/biting/snarling). As the owner of a pit-mix, though--and, years ago, the owner of a lab mix that bit me in the face--I feel it necessary to point out that Rotties and Pits are not the only dogs you have to worry about. This article seems to have some good advice.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:34 AM on September 17, 2008


Bullets travel through bodies. This could be very bad for someone/thing being mauled, given aiming difficulties, moving bodies, and the possibility of being bumped while aiming.

I backed off a bulldog twice yesterday with a yell and a stomp toward him. I kept yelling and the owner came around and closed the gate. But I grew up with dogs and don't have a basic fear of them.

If you go in, you may get slashed, so it better be worth it. If it was mauling a kid, I'd try to break its back with a foot or any hand lever arm.

BTB, if a dog attacks, call the cops. For many it is a habit, and the owner won't acknowledge without consequences.
posted by dragonsi55 at 7:47 AM on September 17, 2008


I would worry about pulling the dog off a child by the hind legs because it might provoke them to pull back in the other direction

Just so this earlier information doesn't get skewed: the back legs thing is not about trying to pull a dog off a victim by pulling/yanking at its back legs.

NOT. That would be a very bad idea. BAD.

The advice is to lift up the two back legs wheelbarrow-style, so that the dog has to struggle to keeps its balance on its two front legs. The theory is that a dog cannot do that and also keep biting its victim - all its attention will be on trying to remain balanced. If you look at that video Forktine linked to, you can see that it was effective as long as the woman held up the back legs of the attacking dog.
posted by taz at 7:54 AM on September 17, 2008


dragonsi55 makes an excellent point about bullets. Not only can they travel through bodies, they don't always do so in a straight path. It would be tragic to have a bullet exit the dog in the direction of the child you were trying to save.
posted by studentbaker at 8:14 AM on September 17, 2008


I have read the grab the hind legs method but there is always the danger that the dog will turn on you. The Anus method is a new one for me. But I think both methods are temporary distractions and will further enrage the animal. You need help as soon as possible.

Here is a video from youtube(warning - maybe graphic for some people) which shows an attack in progress where the victims try "grabbing the hind legs" but the dog turns on them. The police arrive and they try to shoot the dog and even try run down the dog with their vehicle but the dog gives them the slip. This is very illustrative for the many methods being recommended here...meaning they may not be practicable at all times.
posted by shr1n1 at 8:59 AM on September 17, 2008


As a dog owner, I ask that non-lethal methods be used first if at all possible.

To break up a dogfight? Sure.

Hell, most of the things that people would think are dogfights and try to break up aren't even fights, just arguments or discussion, and probably don't even need breaking up as long as the dogs aren't getting hurt or being too annoying.

Dog on a person, beyond a bite-and-run? Nuh-uh.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:11 AM on September 17, 2008


Great post and an interesting question. My girlfriend used to work in emergency preparedness, although too the best of my knowledge this situation was never addressed by her organization.

I particularly enjoyed Mr. Monkey's comment on neutralizing the attack. However, I will admit that upon reading, "Once it detaches from the child, you have a new set of problems to overcome... I would try to keep something between myself and the dog - anything will do...", my first instinct was to think, now where'd that child go?
posted by Dr.James.Orin.Incandenza at 9:11 AM on September 17, 2008


Meta.
posted by kalessin at 10:58 AM on September 17, 2008


A neighborhood kid got mauled by a crack dealer's pit bull on one of the blocks I used to work on. The dog latched onto the boy's elbow and shattered his arm. I was told that one of the adults on the block, another dude who owns pits, got the dog off the kid by straddling the dog from behind and pulling back on its ears. I've since been told that this is the best method for handling this situation from a couple other people in neighborhoods with a lot of attack trained dogs.
posted by The Straightener at 11:35 AM on September 17, 2008


Just so this earlier information doesn't get skewed: the back legs thing is not about trying to pull a dog off a victim by pulling/yanking at its back legs.

NOT. That would be a very bad idea. BAD.

The advice is to lift up the two back legs wheelbarrow-style, so that the dog has to struggle to keeps its balance on its two front legs. The theory is that a dog cannot do that and also keep biting its victim - all its attention will be on trying to remain balanced.


I volunteer for a community-run dogpark and taz's recommendation echoes that which we have received from numerous trainers and behaviorists over the years, including some who specialize in pits, rotties and other so-called aggressive breeds.

Grab the dog by the hind legs. Lift high to force all the dog's weight onto the front legs and eliminate his leverage. Step backwards to pull the dogs apart. Begin pivoting in a circle. The dog will instinctively move his front legs to turn with you rather than allow himself to fall. As long as you keep the hind legs well up in the air and the front legs moving, it will be extremely difficult (although not impossible) for him to whip his body around to bite you. Secure the separated dogs.

If you are alone with 2 dogs, grab the hind legs of one dog and wheelbarrow him to a place where you can secure him with a leash. If the dogs are still engaged, wheelbarrow the 2nd dog away from the secured dog. Secure the 2nd dog.

If the dog is a pit bull, a break stick may be useful. Using a break stick involves getting near the animal's mouth which puts you in danger of being bitten yourself (as does grabbing the scruff of the neck). Pulling ears, gouging eyes, and the finger-in-the-anus are all methods that may work, but leave you at a risk of becoming the rescued rather than the rescuer.
posted by weebil at 12:12 PM on September 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pit bulls are relatively impervious to pain when they're attacking another dog or a person. This idea of lifting the dog so it feels disoriented is interesting, but I've always understood that killing a pit bull is, unfortunately, the only way to stop it from attacking. I might well be wrong about that, but I would want a hunting knife that would allow me to quickly sever the dog's spinal cord. That sounds really awful (and the kind of thing I'm sure is making kalessin cringe), but in the case of a pit bull going after a kid, it would be the quickest way of ending it. For me, the problems caused by carrying a hunting knife around are likely to be much greater than the probability of coming across a kid being mauled by a pit bull, so I take my chances without a hunting knife.
posted by Dasein at 2:34 PM on September 17, 2008


You could get and carry one of these. No CCW needed!

I think.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:58 PM on September 17, 2008


Or one of these.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:04 PM on September 17, 2008


Let's say I'm driving down a residential street

I just noticed this part of the hypothetical, which apparently no one else has. You have a lethal weapon right there - your car. I wonder if the horn would startle the dog enough so that you can run into it without hurting the child. Failing that, keep something heavy in your car that you can throw at the dog. Don't get out of the car.
posted by desjardins at 3:22 PM on September 17, 2008


Here is a video from youtube(warning - maybe graphic for some people) which shows an attack in progress where the victims try "grabbing the hind legs" but the dog turns on them.

Actually it looks more like the holding-by-hind-legs method works really well - the only times the dog gets free are when the person/people holding it lets go of their own choice. I can't see any point where the dog wrestles itself free or is able to attack the person holding it.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:17 PM on September 17, 2008


The constitution has certain ammendments available. Using them on an attacking dog has been through courts on several occasions; each time with the same outcome.
posted by buzzman at 4:42 PM on September 17, 2008


As a dog owner, I ask that non-lethal methods be used first if at all possible. While I appreciate that there's not always enough time to determine whether non-lethal methods are at hand, and part of what I take on as a dog owner is the (very small) risk that my dog will get out and away unsupervised, and further there is a zero-tolerance gun-armed citizen who will kill him for that, I'd rather it didn't happen.

I agree Kalessin. Which is why I used the word "immobilize". Ethics aside, killing the dog would not necessarily be the fastest or safest way to handle the situation. (I don't travel with a gun or a knife and nor would I want to). My thought would be along the lines of rendering the dog unconscious. Humans can be dropped quite quickly by applying pressure to the carotid artery. Perhaps there is some similar technique that would be practicable with the dog.
posted by Neiltupper at 7:47 PM on September 17, 2008


About the gun suggestion: for the average concerned citizen wondering how to deal with dog-attacking-child, a gun would almost certainly be a terrible idea. You need to be a really good shot to hit the dog and not the kid. To become a really good shot takes a lot of practice - not to mention buying and carrying the gun, registering it, keeping it safe at other times, etc. So we're talking about a fair investment of time and energy including an ongoing training program in order to deal with this very unlikely eventuality (deal with it without making the situation a lot worse).
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:52 PM on September 17, 2008


As a dog owner, I ask that non-lethal methods be used first if at all possible.

As a god owner, I ask that if you come across a dog attacking a person, God forbid a child, please kill the dog. Immediately and without compunction.

I love my dog, but I love my children (and indeed all human life) more.


It's a fucking DOG.

If it bites a person, you should offer to have it destroyed.
If it attacks a person, you should have it destroyed without even asking.

Pitbulls should be banned, as they are in many European countries.
posted by Mephisto at 9:40 PM on September 17, 2008


Mephisto, the American Humane Society webpage outlines some of the reasons that breed bans don't necessarily help in cases of dog attacks: "Legislation banning particular breeds can unnecessarily discriminate against dogs that are not dangerous, and does little to protect the community from dog bite incidents. Such legislation can often have unintended consequences, such as black market interest, indiscriminant breeding practices, and subsequent overpopulation issues. Additionally, there can be confusion when dealing with "mixed-breed" dogs, which can make legislation difficult to enforce."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:46 PM on September 17, 2008


Re all the suggestions about kicking in the snout and grabbing the ears - do you people know how fast dogs are? (and dogs kept as attack dogs by unsavory people will not have ears, so that other dogs have nothing to grab.)

Wheelbarrow is your best bet, unless you travel with pepper spray or a cattle prod.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:57 PM on September 17, 2008


PhoBwanKenobi,

In Ireland, pitbulls and other "dangerous dogs" have been covered by the Control of Dogs Act for several years. In public, they must be on a leash and muzzled. Attacks have decreased as a result.

Whether banning would work is open to interpretation. Even though my dog is a half Staffie (which is sometimes confused with Pitbulls), I support the UK approach to this and related breeds. The dogs are banned from breeding (as far as I remember).
posted by Mephisto at 12:30 AM on September 18, 2008


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