If a dog attacks me, what do I do?
January 12, 2021 at 2:29 pm #71139Gad HarrKeymaster::
This is not a nice answer. It’s not a warm-and-fuzzy answer. It’s a gritty answer about how to save your life when you’re threatened by a dangerous animal. And while I love dogs (Tom Kehoe’s answer to Can dogs be friends with cats?), I’ve seen too many cases where someone’s beloved pet ran loose and destroyed someone else’s life.
When I was a young man, a flock of sheep on a farm near where I grew up was wiped out by a man’s three pet dogs. They destroyed 75 sheep. Didn’t eat them, just killed them. Tore their throats out mostly. They just kind of worked themselves into a frenzy. It was a horrific scene.
While reports of attacks usually focus on large dogs, ALL dogs can potentially be dangerous, especially in packs. Packs of vicious, abandoned chihuahuas have terrorized the Bay Area, Phoenix and Detroit (In one of the comments below, a man notes how a dachshund killed a group of sheep).
You want a shocking statistic? More than 4.5 million people a year are bitten by dogs in the U.S.
In 2019, 48 people were killed by marauding dogs. Between 2005–2019, dogs killed 521 Americans. Pit bulls were overwhelmingly the number one offender with 346 kills, but 36 other breeds were involved. Make no mistake: Dog attacks can be fatal.
There is some incredibly bad advice in the posts below, so let’s address that first….
While dogs can be very territorial in defending their yards, most dog bites don’t involve canines defending their territory. Most bites involve an excitation of the dog’s prey instinct. They attack because they see you, your child or your dog, as prey. This is especially true when dogs are allowed to travel in packs. But dogs have also been known to attack their owners because the animal perceived a threat, even where none is intended (one woman was attacked by her pit bull because she tried to put a sweater on it). This can be particularly dangerous with rescued animals that may not have a deep link with their owners.If you’re being threatened by an aggressive dog, for God’s sake, don’t lay on the ground and show your belly. This only makes it easier for a dog to grab you by the throat.If you carry a gun for defense, NEVER fire it over the head of an attacking dog — or a human, for that fact. You are responsible for every bullet that leaves your gun. The only time you should draw your weapon is when your life is in danger. And if you draw your weapon to defend your life, shoot the threat.Don’t scream. That can further excite the dog.Dogs don’t have a “code.” They do have instincts.Don’t ever try to jab something up the dog’s butt, even if it were possible to do so while being attacked.For God’s sake, don’t worry about hurting the dog. A dog attack can leave you crippled, disfigured or dead. The only certain way of dissuading it is to knock the fight out of it.
Who comes up with this stuff?
Try these strategies instead…
Most experts say that the best strategy when approached by an aggressive dog is to remain still and to stare at the ground. The dog might lose interest. NEVER scream and shout at a dog that is about to attack.Jump up on a car. If it tries to follow you, kick it down.Carry pepper spray. Buy this stuff Sabre Red When the dog attacks, nuke it. Bear spray is even better.Don’t try a taser, the darts are likely not to penetrate their fur. A stun gun might, MIGHT, work, but you have to actually touch them with it.A high-powered strobe flashlight may knock a dog back for a moment, especially at dusk or at night.Dogs attack in a straight line. Dart to the side and kick it in the ribs, hard. If you knock it over, stomp on it. Dogs’ heads are very hard, so hitting/kicking it in the head is not likely to be very effective. Kicking it in the throat, a relatively easy target, will be much more effective.Their legs are their weak points. Bust their legs, and they are severely compromised. If you can get behind it, grab it by its rear legs. Pull it backwards, spin around in an arc, and toss it. Even better, smash it into something. A couple of times.If it rears up toward you, knee it, hard, in the ribs. If it falls over, stomp on it. Remember, its legs are its weak point.If it bites, DON’T try to pull away. Get one hand on its upper jaw, one hand on its lower jaw, and yank it apart. Use a stick or pry bar if necessary. That might not be possible with a pit bull.Fire extinguishers are said to be very effective against dog attacks.A knife can be an effective weapon, but sticking it into the animal won’t be easy. If its jaws are locked onto you, stick the knife into its ear. Failing that, go for its throat.If you have a gun, wait until it’s directly in front of you at arms length before you pull the trigger. The likelihood of missing is dramatically decreased, and your protection under the law is dramatically increased.If a pit bull attacks, it’s either you or the pit bull. Kill it.
UPDATE: Several folks have taken me to task for my comments about pit bulls, claiming that bite statistics are improperly compiled, the breed is misunderstood, other breeds bite more often, etc.
First, there seems to be great confusion about exactly what constitutes a “pit bull.” The AKC does not recognize the breed at all; the UKC does. Other sources say the pit bull is actually 3–4 similar breeds. For our purposes, I don’t think it matters. Here’s what I think does:
Pit bulls are nowhere near the “meanest” breed out there. Small dogs are more likely to bite. But when they do bite, pits inflict severe injuries. They are much more likely to bite and hold, or bite, hold and shake, inflicting a horrific injury.Pit bulls do not have the most powerful bite. In fact their bite is not any more powerful than other dogs of similar size.Statistically speaking, pit bulls account for more than 60% of fatal dog attacks. In effect, it matters little if the “pit bull” is one breed or several related breeds. What does matter is the volume of pit bulls. Official counts of purebred pit bulls put the species at about 6% of the U.S. dog population. But unofficial counts put the number of pitbulls and Pitbull mixes at about 20% of the dog population.
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