Dog Attack

Recently (and localy - New Orleans) a 10 year old boy was attacked (and eventually died from the attack) by 2 dogs (I want to say rotweilers). A week later, these dogs were “put to sleep”. Before you say “Good”, listen to the story:
This ten year old boy, who should have known better, climbed a neighbor’s fence to get into the neighbor’s backyard to play with the dogs (neighbors were not home).
First of all, even if it is a kid, isn’t it illegal to climb into someone else’s backyard? Isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to watch the kid and keep him from going into ANYBODY’S backyard, much less one with two big dogs, especially when the owners aren’t home?
I don’t think the situation was handled correctly. (Granted, I love animals and don’t wish to see any of them killed.) Were the dogs really to blame? Weren’t they just doing their job, protecting their home from an intruder, and responding to instincts?
I can understand putting a dog to sleep, say, when a loose dog on the street attacks a baby. But this kid knew better, and these dogs were locked behind a fence!

White Wolf

“Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.”

“Half the world is composed of idiots, the other half of people clever enough to take indecent advantage of them.”

Unfortunately, once a dog mauls or kills, it is generally put down. When an idiot gets into the bear cage at the zoo or the tank of a whale, the assumption is that the bear/whale/tiger/etc. is still confined after the fool’s invasion and that the public is safe. Private homes do not have that sort of security, so dogs are considered a bigger risk once they have inflicted injury.



One of my best friends lives in the Rockies and every once in a rare while someone will end up getting killed by a wild animal (sometimes a mountain lion) while hiking in the mountains.

The result is that the animal is tracked down and killed. This pisses me off. First, it’s a wild animal. Wild animals kill things and eat them (gasp! how barbaric!) Second, I’m a nature lover but one has to understand than in the woods, we are in their territory. Certain precautions are indicated. If you don’t want the risk, then stay the hell out of the wilderness. You have no right to demand that it be “made safe” for your lazy, city-slicker, couch potato ass. And third, the person who got killed was almost always doing something brutally stupid. Most such animals would sooner avoid humans altogether.

I see no reason for killing such animals, especially since the number of people killed in that manner is miniscule.

And just as bad, people build houses out in the middle of the forest, and then when a mountain lion kills their dog, they want it destroyed. Hello? Did somebody force you to build your house there? Did it not occur to you that especially after dusk, your doberman just isn’t the biggest baddest thing around? Is your solution to kill everything out there in the woods that might prey upon your pets?

Some people just need to be smacked with a clue-by-four.

peas on earth

Ah, you clearly don’t get it! This is America, dude. Nobody is responsible for the results of their own actions - god, what kind of world would we have if people had to think about what they did before doing it? We must make everything absolutely safe from any possible action, however ill considered. That guy should have not only put up a fence, but kept his dogs muzzled at all times. Then this tragedy might have been prevented. Not only should the dogs be destroyed but he should be liable for the pain and suffering incurred by the family of the child. At least several million I think. Perhaps it would send a lesson to other people who, against all common sense, keep dogs in their fenced in yards.

Get with the program, buddy. Jeez.

I don’t remember the details any more, but I remember hearing about a case where this guy’s house had been broken into repeatedly and frequently. He eventually got fed up and set up some sort of booby trap. Next time his house got broken into, boom, one dead burgler. Of course he got sued as a result, and if I remember correctly, lost. Thank god that now burglers can feel a bit safer when breaking into the same house repeatedly.

peas on earth


While I take your point, it is also illegal to set up those booby traps so that you won’t be killing the fireman who comes into rescue you.


Yeah, that is a good point Tomndebb. It still annoys me though :slight_smile:

peas on earth

Whether this applies or not I don’t know but there is a thing called “an attractive nuisance.” Mostly from my legal courses it applies to pools and such. In other words they are so inviting you can’t help but resist. (OK that is an oversimplification)

Also there is a term ( I forget the legal term) wherea something is so dangerous you cannot contract out of liability. IIRC it was used in case law to apply to circuses and the wild animals they kept there. In other words the Tigers are so dangerous no matter what you say or signs you post if you are injured they are liable. This being as the situation is too dangerous.

“While I take your point, it is also illegal to set up those booby traps so that you won’t be killing the fireman who comes into rescue you.”

Okay, understanding your point too, wouldn’t you likely disable your booby traps while you are home and prefer using your constitutional right to defend your life with a weapon as opposed to putting your own self or family in harm’s way? BTW, there was some guy who killed himself by his own booby traps. I can’t remember the circumstances, but defending yourself can backfire.
Now, if someone came into my house and my dog mauled them, should I be responsible for my dog’s instincts to defend his territory?

Although my heart goes out to the parents of the child, the child should have never been in the back yard of the neighbor to begin with. It is too easy to blame the dog’s family and put the animals to death.

We live in this society where others don’t take responsibility for their actions, it’s always the other guys fault.

If we continually give up our own responsibility, we give it to the hands of the government. When we give up our responsibility we are considered helpless. If we don’t take action, such as the booby trap man, we end up handing our lives to those that harm us.

It is a double edged sword, however I prefer freedom concerning my life and probably part of a small percentage of Americans that actually will take responsibility for my own wrong doing. However, I hold my personal space (home and property) as sacred territory and will do what I can to defend myself.

It was just a vengeance thing to make the parents feel better. And it sucks.

This is a non-smoking area. If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and act accordingly.

Knowing nothing about the case, it is possible that the dog’s owners simply did not wish to live with two dogs that had killed a child, and they couldn’t very well give the dogs away under the circumstances. Perhaps the dog owners felt responsible even though, if the case was presented accurately, they clearly were not.

In any case, it’s cruelly unfair to the dogs, who were just following their natural instincts – those very instincts being part of the reason that people acquire big, territorial dogs. A ghastly situation all around.



Along with the backfiring issue, there is the point that if your house burns while you are gone, the firefighters must still enter it to fight the fire and to make sure that no one is trapped inside. Boobytraps are, ultimately, more hassle than they are worth–(especially if you hoist yourself by your own petard).


Seems like the dogs’ owners should be held responsible, not the dogs. Perhaps the owners should be spayed/neutered made to sleep in the yard.

Although not negating the very good reason you present that this is illegal, if I am recalling the situation correctly (and I very well might not be), the fellow only put up the booby trap after his house was broken into repeatedly over a short period of time.

Of course a fire could break out at any time so it’s still illegal for a good reason, but it wasn’t quite the same as somebody who’s just paranoid and has booby traps there all the time for no good reason.

I’m not trying to make excuses for him… but having had my own house broke into (just once), I can empathize. I probably wouldn’t have chosen his particular approach, but if I had been repeatedly subject to that, I’d probably arrange to defend my home too.

peas on earth

Before we get to far down the “dogs will be dogs” road, look at it from the other side. Suppose you came home from work one day and the police are waiting to tell you your ten year old has been killed by the neighbor’s dogs. Later that evening, after you’ve identified the body and made funeral arrangements, your neighbor comes over and says he’s real sorry about what Goering and Himmler did and he wants you to know he hit both of them on the nose with a rolled up newspaper to punish them. Do you feel a sense of closure at this point?

When a person chooses to own a large, potentially dangerous dog, they must take into consideration the chance that said dog might injure or kill someone other than a burglar. If I put a pool in my backyard, I’m damn sure going to put up an appropriately high (and hard-to-climb) fence. If a kid then manages to climb the fence and drowns in my pool, at least I can show I’ve taken the correct precautions.

I don’t agree that it’s necessary to have a dangerous animal to protect one’s property. A small dog that barks to alert you or the neighbors to an intruder would work nicely. A large but non-biting dog would also be a good deterrant. I was raised with a German shepherd who was intimidating to look at but would NEVER have killed a child, trespassing or not. It horrifies me that people would keep a dog that was willing to kill a child.

On the other hand, I see no reason to believe that the owner of the dogs should believe that their dogs would kill a child. A ten-year-old scaled a fence and was later found dead of dog-inflicted wounds. I saw no mention that neighbors saw the dogs attack the kid, unprovoked. The kid may have attacked the dogs. The dogs may have played rough and not realized when they were hurting the kid. The dogs may be vicious.

Lots of possibilities exist.

The Rottweilers that I know are large, gentle beasts. (I do know that some have been in-bred for meanness, but that doesn’t mean the whole breed is mean.)

If this was 1979, we would be expecting to find that the dogs had been Doberman Pinschers because the movies and TV spent most of the 1970’s depicting vicious Dobes. I have not heard of a single Doberman attack in over ten years. (I am sure there may have been some.) People keep gentle Dobes all the time. Since the media has switched over to vilifying Rottweillers, we now have city councils contemplating banning them.

I reluctantly agree that an animal that has killed should be “taken out” of any possible societal contact.

Statements and judgments that people should be punished for keeping “vicious” beasts securely locked up in their own yards (unless it can be shown that they either bred or trained for viciousness) are simply silly.


The thought of booby trapping my house occurred to me on many occassions, particularly having been burgled 5 times in 7 years. I would have love to have seen the face of one of those burglars as he struggled, impaled on a large spike…i am grinning evilly now. I always thought though, that i’d end up killing myself when returning home forgetful or drunk.

What does a “sense of closure” have to do with anything? Sure, it’s a sad tragedy, but there’s no right to a “sense of closure”, especially not in a case like this. If it was as described, I don’t think the dogs have done anything wrong, nor has their owner. It’s not like they were just wandering around the neighborhood attacking people at random. As far as I’m concerned, the kid chose (foolishly, it turns out) to trespass - any harm that comes to him as a result is entirely his own fault. If he wasn’t prepared to accept the risk of getting attacked by the dog, he should have stayed out of the guy’s yard. That he just wanted to play with the dogs rather than, say, rob the guy’s house, doesn’t change that, (at least from a moral perspective - legally, I dunno).

Our culture seems to have an aversion to personal responsibility. I think that’s something we need to fix.

peas on earth

Obviously you’re entitled to your own response. But most parents tend to have a more biased emotional reaction to having their child killed and not see it from such an objective viewpoint.

I agree Mike - but I just don’t think that such emotional reactions are appropriate to consider when it comes to dispensing justice.

peas on earth