Owning a dog requires a certain amount of common sense. A person who owns a dog is responsible for the actions of that dog. Teaching a dog proper manners is an essential part of dog ownership. Proper manners includes teaching them that it is not OK to bite a person. Dogs are carnivores. If they are taught that biting is OK, they will bite. If they are taught that it is OK to bite, even during play, it is not their fault if they bite someone. Some people like the idea of training their dogs to look vicious by having them bite and hold on while they swing them around. This type of play is a mistake that could cost your dog his life later on. A dog that is trained to be a vicious dog must carry specialized insurance and must be housed in a manner that will protect the neighbors and the person’s visitors from that animal. It is important before attempting to teach a dog to bite, that the owner seek professional assistance to direct them about the way to train the dog properly. Attack dog training is not something that the average dog owner should attempt to do on their own no matter how many TV shows they have seen, or how many books that they have read. Additionally, underground electric fences that are sometimes called invisible fences do not qualify as appropriate housing for a dog that has been trained to bite. That means that even if a misguided owner taught a dog to bite so that they could look cool to their friends, they must contain the dog differently and carry specialized insurance that covers the ownership of a vicious dog.
In one case that happened in October of 2008, a small child was riding her bicycle in her neighborhood when she passed by the house of a neighbor in the Town of Marlborough in Ulster County. The neighbor had a dog in his yard that was wearing a containment electric collar and was inside an invisible fence. Most dog trainers will tell a dog owner that an invisible fence is not designed to contain a dog that is highly motivated to get out of the yard. A highly motivated dog learn quickly that the electric shock lasts only a second and then they are free. These fences are not predictable as to how well they will work or continue to work with a particular dog. It is because of this that they are not allowed for dogs that are considered vicious. Additionally, since the invisible fence is only intended to be effective against the dog exiting the yard and does not restrict the access of someone entering into the yard with the dog, it is totally ineffective at preventing the dog from coming in contact with strangers who could be bitten by the dog.
A real fence is designed to restrict access from both sides of the fence and is the only effective way to restrict a dog, especially one that has learned to enjoy the reward of sinking his teeth into something. In this case, the neighbor had only an invisible fence. The neighbor was a police officer in that area and had watched the trained K-9 police officers working with the professionally trained K-9 officers. For some reason, he thought that he could train his dog to bite into a bite sleeve without confusing the dog about the propriety of biting people on the arm. He purchased a bite sleeve and used it when he played with the dog. He would encourage the dog to bite down hard on the bite sleeve while he wore it on his arm and shake it around while the dog held on. He encouraged the dog to growl, shake his head, and refuse to let go until he was given a release word.
In his ignorance, this officer was teaching this dog to think that it was OK to bite a person on the arm in a vicious fashion and not let go. It is unclear why this officer thought that this was a good idea, especially since he failed to take any precautions to secure the dog from innocent bystanders who could be walking across his yard on their way down the street. The dog was not trained to differentiate a playful encounter from a serious assault. The officer did not have the training or the professional canine trainer experience to ensure that he taught the dog in a safe manner. He apparently did not teach the dog that he was only to go into bite mode when given a command. It is clear that the officer failed to realize that he was creating a vicious dog. It is clear that the officer in his ignorance assumed that he could teach the dog to play tug of war with him in this fashion without realizing that the dog would not be able to tell the difference between this game and an interaction with anyone else. Teaching a dog to be rewarded with a bite, is a dangerous tactic that should only be used by professionals who understand canine behavior and the results of different training tactics. The reward of the bite, is so primal to the dog’s brain that it creates a motivation that is stronger than almost any other type of motivator. A dog that has been trained to bite, will seek that satisfaction above all other restrictions. This primal motivation cannot be contained by an invisible fence because the discomfort of the short electrical impulse is so minimal and lasts such a short time that the reward of the bite is a stronger driver. The dog will just endure the short pain so that they can reach the true reward of sinking teeth into flesh and being played with. The dog does not have an intent to hurt anyone. It is just doing what it is trained to do and that it enjoys at the most primal level of their brains.
On the date in question, the dog saw the girl riding by on her bicycle. A fast moving prey item causes a dog to take notice. The prey drive kicks in and their brains tell them to chase the prey that is running away from it. In this case, it was the small child on her bike. She was small enough to be prey and was acting like prey by moving swiftly away from the dog. The dog ran across the electric line of the invisible fence and grabbed the child by her arm just as he would grab his owner by the arm when the owner was wearing the bite sleeve. Unfortunately, this small child was not equipped with a bite sleeve and did not know the command to make the dog let go. She sustained serious injuries and her parents filed a lawsuit against the owner of the dog. The owner of the dog filed a motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint against him because he claimed that he did not know that his dog had vicious tendencies.
The court disagreed and denied the motion because the dog’s owner should have known that teaching a dog to bite in that manner could only serve to encourage the dog to bite someone. At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, New York dog bite attorneys can evaluate your case on its own potential. We have convenient offices throughout New York and the Metropolitan area. A New York criminal lawyer can review your case and help you make a decision about seeking monetary compensation.