Dan­ge­rous dogs: w­hat you can do

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus - S­te­fan Goo­sen

The sa­va­ge at­tack by two dogs on an 11-y­e­ar-old boy from Jood­se­kamp in Knys­na has shaken lo­cal re­si­dents to the co­re and high­lig­h­ted the fact that for so­me, li­ving a­mong dan­ge­rous a­ni­mals is a dai­ly re­a­li­ty.

But w­hat do you do w­hen you fa­ce such a thre­at?

In lig­ht of t­he­se re­cent e­vents, the Knys­naP­lett He­rald thoug­ht it fit­ting to bring re­a­ders “news you can use” on the sub­ject.

News you can use

Ac­cor­ding to Knys­na Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty spo­kes­per­son Chris­to­pher Be­zui­den­hout, the­re is a by­law that de­als with the keeping of dogs, in­clu­ding dan­ge­rous dogs and a de­fi­ni­ti­on of w­hat a “dan­ge­rous dog” en­tails.

“The by­law is not breed-spe­ci­fic… Our by­law cle­ar­ly sets out the man­ner in which dogs must be kept and con­tains spe­ci­fic pro­vi­si­ons for con­t­rol of fe­ro­ci­ous, vi­ci­ous or dan­ge­rous dogs (Secti­on 8 of the by­law). On­ce a dog has been clas­si­fied as dan­ge­rous in terms of the by­law, the re­stricti­ons set out in Secti­on 12 ap­plies to such a dog,” he says.

W­he­re to access the by­law

The by­law can be found on the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty’s web­si­te and is tit­led Knys­na Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty By­law Re­la­ting to the Keeping of Dogs.

Be­zui­den­hout ur­ges the pu­blic to re­port dogs they be­lie­ve fit the de­fi­ni­ti­on of “dan­ge­rous dog” to the mu­ni­ci­pal law en­for­ce­ment de­part­ment. “They will in­ves­ti­ga­te the mat­ter. Such an in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on will in­clu­de in­specti­on of the pro­per­ty to es­ta­blish the man­ner in which the dog is kept and/or con­trol­led and if fen­cing of the pro­per­ty is in pla­ce. The mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty may sei­ze, im­pound/ter­mi­na­te dogs as pro­vi­ded for in Clau­se 15 of the by­law,” says Be­zui­den­hout.

Any per­son who con­tra­ve­nes any pro­vi­si­on of the by­law is guil­ty of an of­fen­ce, he says, and li­a­ble upon con­victi­on of a fi­ne or im­pri­son­ment as pro­vi­ded for in the by­law.

Lo­cal a­ni­mal trai­ner and be­ha­vi­ou­rist Ka­ris Naf­te of Hap­py Dogs of­fers so­me i­de­as for keeping sa­fe w­hen cha­sed by a dog:

W­hat you can do

Alt­hough dif­fi­cult, try as much as pos­si­ble to not pa­nic.

Nor­mal­ly dogs don’t bark if they in­tend to bi­te you – bar­king is a war­ning to stay a­way or to tell the rest of the “pack” that you ha­ve been spot­ted. If a dog runs at you bar­king, re­mem­ber that he is not plan­ning to bi­te you at that point. The be­st thing to do is to try and re­lax the dog. Very im­por­tant: Do

not shout or thre­a­ten the dog with a stick! If you do that you are es­ca­la­ting the si­tu­a­ti­on and gi­ving the dog a re­a­son to c­han­ge tacti­cs

and po­ten­ti­al­ly bi­te you.

Stop, stand still and look up at the sky or do­wn at your feet. W­ha­te­ver you do don’t sta­re the dog in the eye and try to in­ti­mi­da­te him.

Ta­ke a deep bre­ath, re­lax your shoul­ders, and turn a­way from the dog.

Te­ach s­mall child­ren w­hen fa­ced with a bar­king dog to turn to­ward any wall, hug their arms in c­lo­se and le­an in­to the wall so their chest and fa­ce are not ex­po­sed. Bet­ter still is to “hug a tree” or a po­le. It’s much sa­fer if child­ren can stay u­prig­ht, keep their fa­ces hid­den and be still. Hol­ding on­to so­mething can help keep them mo­re out of harm’s way. Run­ning can be let­hal

The worst thing for child­ren to do is run as that ma­kes them mo­re ex­ci­ting to the dog. Ma­ny dog bi­tes could ha­ve been a­voi­ded if child­ren (and a­dults) could be still, qui­et, and keep their fa­ces hid­den.

“If you are in the ra­re si­tu­a­ti­on w­he­re a dog runs at you in an ag­gres­si­ve fashi­on and is not bar­king, that is w­hen t­hings are mo­re li­ke­ly to get dan­ge­rous and that is an e­mer­gen­cy. You are un­li­ke­ly to be a­ble to stop such a dog by ap­pea­ring sca­ry,” adds Naf­te.

She says a dog char­ging si­lent­ly is al­re­a­dy bold and in­ten­ding to cau­se harm and sug­ge­sts that in such a ca­se you should try to climb a tree or a wall if pos­si­ble. “Do a­ny­thing you can to put so­mething be­t­ween you and the dog,” she says.

Hold so­mething, such as a jac­ket, in front of your arm. “Ho­pe­ful­ly the dog will bi­te that inste­ad. Try to keep your arms co­ve­ring your fa­ce so if the dog does bi­te he gets the out­si­de of your arms.” W­he­re to re­port

* P­le­a­se re­port any con­tra­ven­ti­ons of the mu­ni­ci­pal by-law im­me­di­a­te­ly to Law En­for­ce­ment on 044 302 6551.

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