Animal talk takes a bite out of dog aggression
By: Radhika Panjwani
June 24, 2008 10:28 PM - The dog days of summer are here, that brings with it a potential danger — dog bites.
And that's why the staff from the Mississauga Animal Services hosted their first-ever interactive session — Dog Bites: Safety, the law and You — tonight at the Central Library.
Last year, the Animal Services in the City received more than 300 dog bite complaints - so this year, in an effort to remind pet owners to keep an eye out for signs of aggression in their pooches, Animal Services Education staff Linda Dent and Julia Banham put together the information session.
“The goal of the session is to make our community safe for parents, children, dog owners and residents,” Dent said. “A lot of people don't report dog bites because they fear their dog is going to be taken away.”
The experts said it is difficult to pin-point if certain breeds of dogs were more aggressive than others because the popularity of a breed can skewer the statistics. To highlight the point, they said few years ago, golden retrievers and cocker spaniels rated high on the list as biters, because they were the most popular breeds to own, meaning there were more of them around. Last year, it was the rottweilers and german shepherds who received the flak.
She said at times, a mixed breed dog can throw the stats off too because breed identification is not an exact science.
Dent said lack of accurate statistics on dog bites in Canada and the absence of a national database make it difficult to determine the exact cases of dog bites.
Luz Maria Kisiel, a Mississauga resident, was at the session to learn about dealing with an aggressive animal. Kisiel said her dog, Misty, a german shepherd who died a year ago, showed signs of aggression around children, which was always a cause of concern to her.
“I love dogs and I foster dogs regularly,” Kisiel said. “I want to educate myself and understand the animal's language so that I can become a responsible dog owner.”
The information lesson focused on different types of aggression, causes and solutions the dog owners can employ to stem a potentially aggressive pet from harming someone and what to do in case on an attack.
“We have a lot of people bringing in their own family pets because they have been biting the people in the family,” Dent said. “Percentage wise, bites that happen in the home are 50 per cent (of all bites).”
Bless the Bullys