Thursday, August 18, 2011

AUBURN WA REPORTER - OPINION - GUEST COLUMNIST - LORI WELBOURNE- "BLAMING THE VICTIM, A CHILD, IN A VICIOUS DOG ATTACK "

ON A BRIGHTER NOTE:  STRICTER DOG LAWS NEEDED

(Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. You can contact her at loriwelbourne.com.)

August 17, 2011 - My friend's 8-year-old son was recently attacked by a pit bull who bit his beautiful face so severely that he was rushed to the hospital. After receiving approximately 40 stitches that ranged from just under his left eye, cheek and under his chin, it was immediately obvious to his family that they had narrowly escaped a parents' worst nightmare.

"You're lucky he never got his jugular," I said to my friend when I saw her son two days after the attack. With tears in her eyes she nodded, beyond grateful he was alive.

When her family found out that this wasn't the dog's first attack and that its fate now rested with its owners rather than the authorities, they took the story to the press.

"We want stricter dog laws in the Okanagan," she said. "If we had known that family had a dangerous animal we never would have allowed our child to be in their house. We should have been informed."

Not wanting to see another family go through the same difficult situation, she's written her first letter to the Regional District and started up a Facebook page called "Stricter Dog Laws in the Okanagan" where she has posted the facts about the terrifying attack on her son. Many people offered their sympathy for the traumatic experience, and encouraged their efforts to make the community safer. Then the unexpected happened: they started getting blamed for the attack.

After their emotional trauma the last thing they needed was to be blamed and she dismantled the page after its first few days. But blaming the victim is par for the course I've now learned since reading a slew of recent dog attack stories on the Internet. Sadly, it's probably what keeps many victims from going public.


Word seems to fly whenever a pit bull or a dog that is on a dangerous breed list is in the news again and fanatical animal protectors come out of the woodwork to do their dirty work. And if you don't think blaming the victim of an unprovoked and vicious dog attack is dirty work, we're just going to have to agree to disagree.

"Pit bulls get a bad rap," another friend of mine said when I told her the story I was working on. "Poodles and Chihuahuas bite way more often and we never hear about them in the news."

"Because they're not maiming and killing people," I responded.

"Oh yeah, there's been deaths," she said. "But the media keeps those stories hush hush." Huh? Was this a joke?

"Any animal that kills any person is going to be reported in the news," I said. "If anything, that would be more of a story because it would be so rare."

But there seems to be a perception that it's the fault of the media that pit bulls, rottweilers and other potentially dangerous dogs have received a bad rap. I'm no reporter, but I'm guessing that the poodle who bit my son's hand (and even managed to draw blood) wouldn't make the headlines like the story of a pit bull's deathly attack on his pregnant owner did last week in California.

We need stricter dog laws, and it shouldn't take an attack resulting in death to make this happen

Lori Welbourne is a syndicated columnist. You can watch her Lola and Liza videos or contact her at www.onabrighternote.ca.



http://www.pnwlocalnews.com/South_king/aub/opinion/127952843.html
 
COMMENTS:

april 29 -3 hours ago

I am very sorry to hear about the pit bull attack on this little boy, and the attack by pit bull advocates on the family. I received the same treatment after my horse was attacked by a pit bull in a public park, with hundreds of witnesses. There is no "media conspiracy," behind every pit bull attack story is a very real victim, like your friend's son, and like my good horse. Many victims do not live, we are very lucky. Please continue to work for stricter dog laws, every victim says the same thing "nobody should have to go through this."
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david - 2 hours ago

i was chased by a pitbull only 3 days ago, and it was the scariest thing i have experienced in a long while.
the incident ocurred over by the valley6 theaters in auburn,while i was out on a sunday walk.
this huge wall of muscle and teeth ran up on me so fast, i didnt have hardly time to respond.
it was with another pitbull in their yard, with no fence i might add.luckily the idiot that owned these two killing machines,came out after hearing me screaming profanities.i am carrying mace from now on, and i will spray and ask questions later...

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