A bulldog was shot multiple times after viciously attacking and killing a smaller Shih Tzu on Sunday, in a campground at Navajo Lake State Park in New Mexico. According to San Juan County Sheriff’s Captain Tim Black, the 2-year-old American bulldog escaped, ran over to another campsite where the Shih Tzu was tethered, grabbed it in its mouth, and violently shook and killed the smaller dog. An off-duty police officer from another county witnessed the attack, ran into the trailer and retrieved a gun, and shot the bulldog with the Shih Tzu still in its mouth. The bulldog’s owner was reportedly straddling the dog at the time, attempting to intervene in the dog attack.
This story is a tragic but important reminder that dogs can be unpredictable, and must be closely supervised, especially if they might come into contact with other dogs or people. It is never a good idea to leave a dog tethered outside alone, and most campgrounds and RV parks prohibit it. Most campgrounds and RV parks also require that dogs always be leashed and that owners pick up after their dogs, but these rules can sometimes be ignored. It is best to be aware of the other dogs in the campground, whether they seem to be well-trained, and if their owners are supervising the animals closely.
According to dogbitelaw.com, there are some danger signs that could indicate risk factors for possible dog bites or attacks.
A dog alone in its yard, with no owner present. In 2008, 78% of the fatal dog attacks involved unsupervised dogs in their own yards.
Dog breed: Pit bull, Rottweiler, Akita or Chow. These breeds are considered to be more aggressive, with pit bulls topping the list. Of all of the dog attack fatalities in 2008, 65% were caused by pit bulls.
The pack mentality. The more, the merrier does not apply here. Larger groups of dogs means a higher risk of aggressive behavior. Of all the fatal dog attacks in 2008, 39% involved multiple dogs.
Chained or tethered dogs. Dogs can become more aggressive when tied up. This accounted for 9% of fatal dog attacks in 2008.
Male or unneutered dogs. Males are several times more likely to attack than females, and even more so if they have not been neutered.
New to the household. The first 60 days is a crucial period of adjustment for either a new dog in a household, or a new person in a household with a dog. In 2007 and 2008, 20% of fatal dog attacks involved a new person or dog co-habitating for less than two months.
Although none of these factors alone should cause fear of attack, it is wise to pay attention if more than one of these risk factors is present. Of course, many dog attacks could be avoided with proper training, but sometimes even training will not prevent a dog attack. Observation, closely monitoring your dog, common sense, and remaining calm are key factors in avoiding situations that could lead to dog attacks.