Beware of any dog

Published 6:16 pm Friday, May 21, 2010

The tragic dog attack suffered by the young man from Maplesville, now at home and healthy, reminds us we should always take safety precautions around any animal, domestic or not.

We’re happy to know that the boy has left the local hospital to heal in the comfort of his own home surrounded by his loving family. No child should experience that sort of trauma and pain under any circumstance.

The Clanton Advertiser staff spoke to Joe Murphy, the director of the Chilton County Humane Society, to seek tips on how people, especially children, can stay safe from the unpredictable behavior of canines.

Murphy said the rule is if a person does not know they dog, then he or she should not even interact with the animal, even if it is being walked on a leash by an owner. If a child wants to pet a dog, he or she should ask. Of course, as Murphy said, this a child following that advice is easier said than done. Either way, the message must be delivered even if the child should remain under supervision.

Murphy said running away is something that sets the prey drive off in a lot of dogs. Children are more vulnerable, given they are right at eye level with the dog. An animal might see that as a challenge.

He encourages anyone who sees a strange dog approaching to remain still – be a tree. Do not commit any sudden movements, especially if you feel threatened by the animal. Always let the animal sniff you first before petting it. Avoid hovering over a dog, as it is a display of dominance.

We would like to echo one of Murphy’s statements, which was to commend the Maplesville Police Department and its chief, Todd Ingram, for handling the matter safely and diligently.

Most importantly, let us reiterate that we’re happy to know the young man is back at home in Maplesville.