New Zealand Dog News

Reviewing the dog news in New Zealand with editors comments. Someone needs to keep reviewing how our dogs are doing in society.

April 25, 2011

Dog no danger says owner, but victim's dad disagrees

The owner of a dog that bit a Christchurch girl's face, forcing her to have 30 stitches, says the animal is not dangerous and he will fight to save its life.

Charlize Allen was injured outside a dairy in Selwyn last weekend after approaching Tama, a bullmastiff cross, while he was tied up. 

Editor's note: after having spoken by email with the mother of the child, she said that her child did not approach the dog as she was scared of dogs... rather, the dog got up and lunged at the child.
I have withdrawn my earlier comments criticising the parents for not supervising their child, and  apologised for taking the article at face value. (see other article Mastiff mauls three-year-old)

For a dog to bite a person and/or another dog unprovoked can be either be: 1) the dog is unsocialized and can't read the body language of dog/human 2) has been in a fight recently and the stress levels of the dog is still elevated, like that of a human who's 'on edge' 3) medical reasons (ie- dog has hip dysplexia, undiagnosed broken bones, bruising, etc.

I Owner, Tai Marsden, 26, is now fighting moves by Charlize's parents, Chris Allen and Chontelle Johnstone, to have Tama put down.
"It wasn't a mauling. Tama was tied up with a chain and they went up to him. It's just common sense not to go pat a dog you don't know."

This is very true. I have witness over and over how parents allow their child to pat our dog without asking while standing there. He looks friendly and he is. But the habit of getting your child to ask before touching really needs to be emphasised to children.

In this case however, it appears that the owner didn't witness the attack and therefore is not in a position to comment on what happened.

The dog was a regular at the dairy and there had never been a problem. "He's not a vicious dog and he's well behaved - he just looks a lot scarier than he really is," Marsden said.

No dog should bite a person. It is the responsibility of the owner to make sure that their dog is safe in the community before allowing it to sit in public unattended.

He said his friends and neighbours, some who had children, were comfortable around Tama.
"We are sorry that it happened but nothing like this has happened before."
Chris Allen said, however, that he would push for the dog's destruction.
"It needs to be put down, or I'll do it myself," he commented.


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