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5 Things To Do During A Dog Attack

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


After a wave of pit bull attacks in the metro area, animal control experts and dog trainers said that pet owners and residents should know how to prevent a dog attack and how to defend themselves and their own dogs if one should occur. 

“If one gets loose and grabs on, it’s going to tear you up,” said Daniel Villegas, a pit bull breeder for the last three years at CP Kennels. “They were bred to have a lot of muscle.” 

Slideshow Below: 5 Tips for Surviving a Dog Attack

Pit bulls, while not innately dangerous, are a breed of fighting dog.  Pit bull breeds were responsible for 78 percent of fatal dog attacks last year in the U.S., more than double the next leading breed of Rottweilers. The dogs have been involved in three attacks in the Metro area in the last several weeks. They are banned in many cities, including all of Malheur County Oregon.  

On Sept. 24, while on the Portland streetcar, a pitbull in the care of a 17-year-old girl attacked and killed a Pomeranian. On Oct. 6 a pit bull mauled a woman, Kimberly Shay, in Southeast Portland.  Shay, a grandmother, suffered a broken arm and told KGW the dog had turned her arms into "hamburger." Then on Oct. 11, another pug named Maggie was killed by two pit bulls in Troutdale. The dogs attacked the 7-year-old pug in front of Maggie's owner, Annie Stark, and didn't relent even after Maggie's owner started trying to gouge the dog's eyes out, according to The Oregonian.

Director of Multnomah County Animal Control Mike Oswald said that his department deals with dog-bit cases two or three days a week, something that’s understandable in a dog-friendly town like Portland. 

“It’s important to understand there are 180,000 dogs in Portland,” Oswald said. “There are lots of opportunities for incidents to occur.” 

The Multnomah County Animal Control website has a page devoted to dog attacks, that offers advice on how to avoid and survive a dog attack.

Villegas said the pit bulls make good pets, but to keep them properly controlled they must have a lot of exercise, training, and affection. He said it was up to the owner to make sure the dog’s needs are met, and that the dog stays under control and leashed when in public.

Community members should also remember to report any incidents that occur, even minor ones. That's because dogs with a history of problems often go unreported until a serious incident occurs, according to Villegas.

“It could be just one case," Oswald said.  "But.. sooner or later, someone’s going to be injured." 


Related Slideshow: Slideshow: 5 Tips For Surviving Dog Attacks

Pit bull breeds accounted for 78 percent of fatal dog attacks last year. GoLocalPDX outlines five things to know about surviving pit bull attacks recommended by Multnomah County Animal Control.

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1) Do Not Run

Stay as quiet and motionless as you can, "like a tree." Quick gestures or running will only bring out the dog’s prey or chase instinct. If you can, slowly back away while turning your head and eyes away from the dog. Also, avoid screaming.  

Photo credit: maplegirlie on Flickr

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2) Protect Yourself

Attempt to place anything you have, such as a jacket or backpack, between yourself and the attacking dog. Keep your arms and hands near your body, making it harder for the animal to reach out and bite you. Also, turn your hands into fists to protect your fingers. If you can, curl up in the fetal position.   

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3) Choke The Dog

If a dog cannot breathe or is choking, it will probably stop biting you. If a dog is attacking you, try to ram either an object or your hand down its throat as far as you can to make it gag. Also, try to put pressure against the animal’s throat and windpipe. 

Photo credit: smerikal via Compfight cc

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4) Do Not Use Force

Although it seems logical, do not try to hit the dog. With dogs like pit bulls, bred to attack, hitting it will only anger it and make it more vicious.   

Photo credit: maplegirlie on Flickr

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5) Report The Incident

Even if you receive no serious injuries, it is best to let the authorities know about a dangerous or menacing dog. It may only injure someone worse in the future. Contact animal control services, such as Multnomah County Animal Control

Photo credit: MLazarevski via Compfight cc;


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