(Framegrab provided by 9News)

As many of you may have heard, a dog  named Max (that was rescued from the icy waters on Tuesday in Denver), bit a news anchor during a live news broadcast yesterday.  While a very painful & upsetting event, thankfully the news anchor is recovering.

Unfortunately, due to Colorado Dog Bite Laws,  the dog must be tested & quarantined for 10 days. Hopefully, he will not be ordered to be euthanized.

The lesson to be learned by all of us, is how this could have been prevented . For, unfortunately, this was a an accident waiting to happen ... starting with the events 16 hours earlier.

  • #1 - The owner should have never allowed his dog to be running free off-leash, unless he had trained his dog to obey a 100% solid recall (with distractions). Even with a solid recall, he should not let his dogs off-leash around partially iced-over bodies of water.

  • #2 - The owner should have given his dog time to recover from the trauma of the previous day.  The dog was probably still exhausted, traumatized, and stressed. The night before had been a flurry of reporters in his home. Then the following day, only 16 hours after nearly drowning,  a morning of  bright lights, activity, strangers, strange objects (i.e big cameras), and an unfamiliar environment was asking a lot of the dog, even in the best of situations.

  • #3 - The owner, AND all of those that interacted with the dog, should have paid attention to the dog's body language. But, no one was paying attention during the interview.  The dog was showing blaring signs  ... licking his lips, panting, yawning, blinking, turning his head away, his eyes did not look soft, his ears were laying back, and he was pressed-up against the couch. He even gave a quick little growl.

  • #4 - Also, notice the leash tugs that the owner gave the dog, which only added additional stress and anxiety to an already over-stressed dog.

  • #5 - Lastly, the news anchor was acting inappropriately with a dog that did not know her. She was in his space, facing him full on, reaching over the top of his head and aggressively petting him, staring into his eyes, smiling (showing her teeth), and holding his head cupped in her hands ... all the while ignoring the dog's signals.

So, you have a tired, stressed, traumatized dog, giving off every warning signal his body could ... and no one was listening ... a recipe for disaster.

Then it happened ... the dog lunges forward a little and gives a warning snap. He was not trying to be "aggressive", but rather he was giving her another warning, since all his other warnings had been ignored. Had the dogs intentions been "aggressive", he would have done more than a quick nip.  Had the news anchor not been so close to the dogs face with her face, this may have all ended differently.

Such a sad and traumatic story, that could have had a much better ending ...  if all had paid attention to the dog. Hopefully this can be a learning experience for us all, and we can avoid a similar tragedy.


A final note ... It was originally reported that Max was not up-to-date on his vaccinations, but Max's owner later clarified that Max is up-to-date. This is good news. It is important to keep our pets up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations. It not only protects the dog from catching rabies from a rabid animal, it also protects people from contracting rabies from an non-vaccinated dog that is unknowingly carrying rabies.


date Thursday, February 9, 2012

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