Years ago, we moved house at a very inopportune time.
I had a brand new litter on the ground, just a few days old, and there was no pushing ahead our moving date. So, I packed up the dam and her puppies, and put them into the ground floor bathroom of the new house, safely tucked into the bathtub, complete with a heating pad and loads of bedding. On the door, I put a LARGE, hand lettered sign that said “Dog inside – DO NOT OPEN DOOR!!!!!”.
You can probably imagine what happened.
A mover, either because he was illiterate or just an idiot, opened the bathroom door, only to be faced by 23 pounds of murderously enraged French Bulldog, in full on momma protective mode. She launched herself at him like a screaming banshee, and he closed the door just as her teeth clicked against it. I have no doubt she would have done her best to tear a piece out of his arm, given a chance, and I would not have blamed her in the least.
As Heather H. recently wrote, new motherhood is a funny time for dogs, just like it is for people. Normally cranky dogs become doe eyed and serene, and generally sweet tempered dogs can become teeth gnashing hellhounds. The hellhound hormones generally wear off by a week or so, even for the most protective of my dogs, and they suddenly become accepting of all sorts of visitors (including, in the case of the dog I mentioned, our old Maine Coon cat, who used to climb into her whelping box and clean her puppies).
The question this raises is, are bites that take place as a result of a mother (and in one case, a mother and a father) protecting their puppies justified?
Near Calgary, opinions on this are mixed –
A Didsbury area couple is recovering from a shocking dog attack.
A pair of Akita dogs were in the garage with their newborn puppies when the 27-year-old man and his girlfriend went in to to feed them, as a courtesy to their owner, who is also a tenant in the home southwest of the town.
The female Akita suddenly lunged at the woman, who had her pet beagle with her.
The male Akita then joined the attack, mauling the couple.
The dogs inflicted severe wounds to the couple’s hands, forearms, thighs and chests.
Read more here.
As you can easily imagine if you’ve ever spent any time reading online newspaper comments, there’s a lot of stuff along the lines of
It does not matter who is at fault!
THE DOGS MUST BE PUT DOWN!!
It seemed that this is exactly what was going to happen –
The Akita dogs and their puppies are now under a 10-day quarantine at Animal Services in Calgary to check for rabies.
It is possible the dogs may be euthanized. Animal and Bylaw Services is searching for a surrogate mother for the puppies should that occur.
The owner of the two dogs, who was charged with two counts of dog biting and one count of dog causing damages to another dog, in spite of the fact that she was not home when the attack occurred, had initially agreed to have both dogs killed, but later changed her mind –
Akita dogs involved in a vicious attack last week now wants her dogs assessed before the decision is made to euthanize them.
The dogs’ owner originally planned to surrender her animals but now would like more information.
“I’ve been in contact with her, she hasn’t changed her mind. This is just a better way to go,” says Mountain View County Peace Officer Amanda Stuhl.
“This is going to allow her to make an informed decision this way. With everything that’s been in the media and everyone upset about the dogs, euthanizing the dogs, this will allow the behaviour testing to be done and allow her to make an informed decision and allows a judge to make a proper decision in court.”
Unbelievably, even the eleven day old puppies are going to be ‘evaluated’, to see if they also need to be ‘put down’. But, hey – at least they’ll wait until they’re at least six weeks old.
The assessment of the dogs will take place next week and will take approximately one week to complete.
The puppies, now 11 days old, are being held in quarantine with their mother. While their future has yet to be determined, they will also undergo a behavioural assessment but not until they are six-weeks-old.
Global TV brings me possibly my most head/desk banging quote from this entire incident –
The Akita dogs were familiar with the Beagle as they had interacted before on several occasions.
It’s unknown why the dogs attacked on this occasion and why the attack was so severe.
Really? No one has any idea why the dogs attacked a strange dog who was sniffing around their newborn puppies, and why they then turned on the two people who reached into the melee to try and retrieve their dog?
No guesses at all here?
Our media, yet again never failing to live up to expectations.