- PREVENTION OF DANGERS
Incidents with dangerous dogs are no specialty in everyday's police work, but have beed part of actions taken for the prevention of dangers for decades.
The scope of police action ranges from minor offenses up to negligent or willful behavior of dog owners. Many times the reason for later bite incidents are disputes between neighbors about the dog barking.
So the "Dog"–problem is not a new one. New is only the media's little rational way of dealing with this subject!
- DATA (1989-1997)
The police of Northrhine-Westphalia is the only institution to have a statewide and up-to-date information pool concerning dangerous dogs that had to be killed by the use of firearms.
Essential trends may be seen from the firearms analysis.
The overall problem thus takes on a totally different perspective as spectacular press articles based on only individual cases try to make us believe.
But the media hype also has its advantages: dog owners meanwhile react more sensitive and as a consequence of this change of behavior, severe attacks of dogs against people or animals have not increased in Northrhine-Westphalia:
- USE OF FIREARMS FOR THE KILLING OF DOGS
Within nine years police officers had to make use of firearms in 2,380 (264/year) cases, in order to prevent dangers for people or traffic caused by animals that were injured, suspected to have rabies or had escaped or in order to quickly save these animals from agony and pain.
293 of these animals were dogs (12,3%), 150 of which had to be killed because of injuries suffered in a car accident and 143 because of attacks on people or animals.
This concerned mainly individual dogs.
Many times crosses, Shephards, Rottweiler and Pitbulls were involved in damage claims.
- 36 people were thus threatened by a dog,
As "threatened" an event is to be understood, when the dog runs towards or after a person, while showing its teeth, growling and with its neck hair raised.
- 86 people were attacked,
If there was body contact between dog and person with or without damage, the incident is categorized as "attacked" .
- 49 people were slightly injured,
- 24 people severely injured and 1 killed.
Furthermore, 31 animals were injured and 195 killed. Preferred prey of crosses, Shepherds and Huskys were grazing sheep (102) and free-running chicken (25).
From this survey, however, no indication for the particular danger of "fighting dogs" as discussed by the public may be derived.
Only in 20 cases (14 Pitbulls, 2 American Staffordshire Terriers and 4 Bullterriers) such animals were involved in damage claims.
(Note: Were these really Bullterriers?? Our experience has taught us that when the word "fighting dog" is mentioned, the media mostly publishes the photo of a Bullterrier!!)
But only 2 American Staffordshire Terriers and 6 Pitbulls injured people.
(Note: The person reporting, Mr. Hartwig, is referring to a period of 9, in words NINE, years)
- ATTACKS ON PEOPLE
Of the 196 injured persons, 171 persons were adults and 25 were children, of these 18(4) were dog owners, 76(5) were passers-by and 77 were police officers (in parentheses the number of women).
Only in 25 out of 196 cases (12.8%) children were confronted with aggressive behavior; (Feddersen-Petersen, D, 1987, Hundepsychologie (Dog Psychology), 2nd edition, p. 72ff; according to this book, aggression is not something bad in itself, but part of the dog's social behavior).
12 children were injured, which equals 16.2% of all persons injured by dangerous dogs.
- TYPES OF INJURIES ACCORDING TO DOG BREEDS
A wide range of purebreds and crosses was involved in the severe injuries of people. Out of these only two American Staffordshire Terrier and six Pitbulls deserve the term "fighting dog".
This clearly shows that a stigmatization of certain dog breeds as "fighting dogs" is absurd
see Feddesen-Pettersen, D., 1990: " Wieder lernen, mit einem Hund umzugehen" (Learn to deal with dogs again), in: "Zur Sache Kampfhunde" (on fighting dogs), p. 70ff.,