A press release on Bakersfield.com noted that a three year old child was attacked by a Pit Bull. I sighed as I read the headline, since there's nothing more the media seems to like than to sound the pit bull alarm as often as possible, to the continuing detriment of a breed that is wholly undeserving of the unyielding assault on its being.
I might not have bothered to mention the story at all had a second item not been posted an hour or so later detailing the incident.
It turns out that the dog in question was chained. Chained to a tree in the backyard. How long had the dog been chained? Who knows. Apparently the family who owned the dog missed the memo that chaining a dog for longer than three hours is now against the law in California. And they surely didn't take the time to read that chained dogs are nearly three times more likely to bite than are dogs that are unrestrained.
Perhaps if the owner of this dog taken the smallest amount of time to think about the long term needs --- social, emotional and physical --- of another species they chose to bring into their home, this whole incident could have been avoided.
It's simple, folks. Dogs deserve more than to spend their lives at the end of a chain. They deserve more than to be cast out into the backyard, separated from their pack and from the comfort of a warm, safe environment. They deserve, before being brought into a home, for someone to spend more than ten minutes thinking about the long-term needs a social creature has. They deserve not just to be thought about, but to be thought of.
The injuries to the child, according to the post, do not appear to be life-threatening, and for that I'm glad. Don't think that caring about one side of the equation means that there is no concern for the other.
But perhaps a little clarity of writing was due in the composition of the piece. The injuries were not life-threatening for the child. The dog in question, a dog who in all probability had spent far more time on a chain than off one, is most surely dead as I type, having been taken away by Animal Control at the owner's request.
To find out more about why chaining a dog is never a good option, look into these resources:
Dogs Deserve Better
Unchain Your Dog
Humane Society of the United States