Today a lady sent me two photos and wrote to me about getting attacked by a friend's dog. The photos showed bites (not one, but two) on the face, a completely shut eye (because of a pool of blood that swelled up her face), and bite wounds on her throat. Her question to me was whether she was responsible for getting attacked.

She explained that she loves dogs, that her friend loves dogs, and that this was a rescued Doberman with a tragic history of going to homes that could not care for it. As I read her email, however, I began to get an entirely different impression: this was a vicious dog, her friend is in danger, and this dog bite victim needs to do something about this right away. Here is the exchange of email, with identifying information removed from it:

MESSAGE FROM "WENDY" TO MR. PHILLIPS:

 

I am contacting your office because of being biten by a doberman while visiting a friend. 

I did not want to hurt my friendship with a longtime friend. She received a dog from rescue a little over 3 months ago although he was never formally in a shelter or situation like that. First owner was in an accident and could not keep him so the wife gave him to rescue while he was in the hospital. He then went to a rescue home with someone who was gone from the home 16 hours a day for over 1 year. In early June he went to my friend. He is a large 4 year old doberman and a lovely dog.

I have not given Animal Control his identity because my friend is a cardiac patient and very sick. She told me from the beginning it was all my fault. The dog jumped up on the couch after we sat. As soon as I touched the dog it bit under my ear into my neck and jaw, my forehead and skull causing severe bleeding and pain. I was able to get out the door where I collapsed in a chair, stunned and in shock and bleeding all over the place. I told her I thought I should have a paramedic and she did not call one. She begged me not to seek medical care so I did not until the next afternoon. Bottom line. Am I responisible for the attack?

Thanks, Wendy

MR. PHILLIPS' REPLY TO "WENDY"

I am sorry to hear about this. What might you be responsible for? I have an answer for you: the next victim.

This is a vicious dog. It tried to bite your throat. It tried to kill you. It bit you not once but twice.

This dog was not given up because someone went to the hospital and didn't have time for it. It was given up because it was vicious. The sob story about the owner being too sick to take care of it was a lie.

This type of story is happening today all over the country because of the "no kill" movement, which says that no dogs in a shelter should be put down. Well, some have to be.

Right now, a lady is sitting in jail for 20 years because of a dog that had never bitten anyone but had snapped at two people, but then killed a woman. So two women's lives were taken away or ruined because nobody did anything about that dog. (I am referring to Marjorie Knoller, who was convicted of second degree murder in the death of Diane Whipple.) 

If you care about your friend, about children in the neighborhood, and about older people who can't defend themselves from dangerous dogs, you will report this to animal control and tell your friend to get real about her situation: she owns a vicious dog, it could turn on her, it could hurt someone, and if it does, she might face criminal charges because of the demonstrated viciousness of the animal.

Right now you can do something about this. Later, you won't. If something happens to anyone else or to your friend, you will wish that you did.

Kenneth Phillips