In April of 1998, eight year old Courtney Trempe was playing in a neighbour’s backyard, north of Toronto, when she was attacked and killed by the neighbour’s five-year-old male Bull Mastiff. The dog was subsequently destroyed. The Humane Society of Canada was called as an expert witness to give evidence in the subsequent coroner's inquest into her death.
The following material is available from our site:
Letter to the Chief of Police concerning the case
The following letters have been received from various political levels and jurisdictions. To be completely fair, we have simply scanned these letters and reproduced them here:
- Then Prime Minister Jean Chretien
- Then Federal Minister of Health Alan Rock
- Grant Hill, then Federal Opposition Health Critic
- Representative of Ralph Klein, then Premier of Alberta
- Halver Jonson , then Alberta Minister of Health
- Glen Clark , then Premier of BC
- Jim Doyle then BC Minister of Municipal Affairs
- Andrew Hazelwood, of the BC Public and Preventive Health Division
- Gary Filmon, then Premier of Manitoba
- Representative of the Manitoba Ministry of Highways and Transportation
- Dennis J. Furlong, then New Brunswick Minister, Health and Community Services
- Kevin Aylward , then Newfoundland Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods
- Representitive of the then Premier of Nova Scotia, Russel MacLellan
- Jim Smith, then Nova Scotia Minister of Health
- Floyd Roland, NWT Minister of Health and Social Services
- Donald Cooper , NWT Deputy Minister of Justice
- Mike Harris, then Premier of Ontario
- Elizabeth Witmer , then Ontario Minister of Health
- Kathleen Beall, Counsel with the Ontario Attorney General's Office
- Pat Binns, Premier of Prince Edward Island
- Maurice Rodgerson , then Chief of Staff, Hon. Pat Binns' Office
- Representative of then Premier Bouchard
- Richard Brunelle , ancien Attache politique de la ministre de la Sante du Quebec
- Pat Atkinson, Saskatchewan Minister of Health
- John T Nilson , Saskatchewan Minister of Justice and Attorney General
- Piers MacDonald, Yukon Government Leader
- David Sloan, Yukon Minister of Health and Social Services
Monsieur le premier ministre Lucien Bouchard
885, Grand Allee est, 3e etage
Quebec QC G1A 1A2
Objet : Campagne nationale de sensibilisation sur les morsures causées par les chiens
Monsieur le premier ministre,
Je vous écris pour confirmer que The Humane Society of Canada est prête à investir un million de dollars de ses ressources pour prévenir les morsures causées par les chiens. Toutefois, nous ne pouvons le faire sans votre aide et celle des gouvernements fédéral, provinciaux et territoriaux.
Nous vous demandons votre aide afin de travailler de concert avec d’autres élus et agences gouvernementales dans le but d’enrayer ce sérieux risque pour la santé qui existe dans toutes les communautés du Canada.
J’ai récemment servi de témoin expert dans une enquête du coroner sur le décès d’une fillette en Ontario. L’année dernière, Courtney Trempe, huit ans, jouait dans la cour d’un voisin juste au nord de Toronto lorsqu’elle a été attaquée et tuée par le chien de cinq ans du voisin. Les recommandations du coroner Barry McLellan et du jury sont détaillées et pratiques.
Ces recommandations sont toutefois très préoccupantes car elles reprennent celles qui ont été émises par le coroner Pierre Brochu, du Québec, ainsi que par le jury, en février 1998, par rapport aux circonstances entourant le décès de Dariane Blouin, cinq ans, de St-Tites-des-Caps, qui a été tué par deux chiens de traîneau appartenant à son père.
D’un point de vue personnel, en tant que parent de deux jeunes enfants (Pierce, neuf ans, et ma fille Elan, quatre ans), je suis extrêmement préoccupé par les cas d’attaque au cours desquels des enfants et des adultes ont été blessés ou même tués, et les chiens ont été euthanasiés.
Le Canada est un pays où les gens aiment beaucoup les animaux. On estime qu’il y a 4 millions de chiens et 4,5 millions de chats vivant dans des foyers à travers le Canada. Une étude menée par Statistique Canada estime que sur 11,5 millions de foyers, un foyer sur deux possède un animal de compagnie quelconque, qu’il s’agisse d’oiseaux, de hamsters ou de poissons.
Selon nous, le thème sous-jacent de la campagne nationale de sensibilisation aux morsures causées par les chiens est que la société doit protéger les enfants et les adultes tout en faisant la promotion de l’appréciation des avantages de la relation immémoriale qui existe entre les gens et les animaux. Je suis convaincu que vous comprendrez qu’il est de la responsabilité de tous d’essayer d’atteindre ces objectifs.
Par conséquent, je vous écris non seulement au nom de nos 110 000 partisans à travers le pays et des millions de familles qui vivent avec un chien à la maison, mais également au nom des millions de Canadiens qui préfèrent ne pas avoir de chiens et dont les intérêts doivent aussi être respectés.
Le fait de protéger nos enfants contre les dangers de la circulation, de les inciter à ne pas parler aux étrangers, à ne pas prendre de drogues et à ne pas fumer fait partie de la vie de tous les jours dans la société actuelle. Dans le même ordre d’idée, nous devons apprendre à nos enfants et à tout le monde à reconnaître le moment où un chien va attaquer et à éviter de se retrouver dans ce genre de situation.
Nous ne devons toutefois pas oublier que, pendant des milliers d’années, les chiens ont été nos amis, nos protecteurs et nos compagnons. En fait, la plupart des 4 millions de chiens au Canada n’ont jamais mordu ou tué personne. Nous devons atteindre un équilibre dans cette relation positive et de longue date non pas en effrayant les gens, mais bien en aidant le public en général, ainsi que les propriétaires de chiens, en leur montrant à développer un respect sain et être sensibilisés face à la manière dont nous interagissons avec les chiens dans notre société.
Nous croyons que la meilleure façon d’y parvenir est par l’entremise d’une campagne nationale de sensibilisation aux morsures causées par les chiens qui offre des objectifs à court, moyen et long terme ainsi que des résultats prévus spécifiques.Pour être couronnée de succès, cette campagne doit comprendre un certain nombre d’éléments cruciaux qui auront pour résultat un programme équilibré d’éducation et de mise en application. La campagne devra comprendre au moins les éléments suivants :
- un examen de l’efficacité des lois civiles et criminelles actuelles au Canada et dans les autres pays
de ces territoires au niveau du lancement d’initiatives en éducation du
public pour «enseigner la prévention» contre les morsures causées par
les chiens et pour encourager les propriétaires d’animaux à être plus
responsables (c.-à-d. la stérilisation, l’obligation d’obtenir un
permis pour les éleveurs et les dresseurs, la formation sur le
traitement humain pour les propriétaires envers leurs animaux,
l’utilisation de harnais, de laisses, de muselières, etc.)
- la mise en place d’une agence nationale pour faire la collecte et l’analyse des attaques d’animaux rapportées et les décès qu’elles ont causés afin de les documenter et de mieux comprendre pourquoi ces attaques se produisent et ce que nous pouvons faire pour les prévenir
- des recommandations spécifiques à propos d’une campagne multimédia diversifiée visant à réduire le nombre et la fréquence de ces tragédies
- des recommandations à propos des agences gouvernementales et de la coopération interagence nécessaires à l’atteinte de ces objectifs.
The Humane Society of Canada est prête à contribuer au financement, à partager son savoir-faire et à aider à incorporer ce type de programme aux initiatives d’éducation publique principales et aux programmes scolaires dans toutes les communautés du Canada.
Nous sommes également prêts à contribuer à la mise en place et à
l’exploitation d’une agence nationale qui sera responsable de
surveiller et d’analyser les cas de morsures causées par les chiens
ainsi que les raisons de ces cas, d’effectuer des recherches
scientifiques et d’aider à mettre en œuvre des mesures plus efficaces
pour encourager les propriétaires d’animaux à être plus responsables et
à réduire les cas de morsures causées par les chiens, ainsi qu’à mieux
comprendre les soins médicaux requis pour les victimes de morsures.
Pour qu’une agence et un programme éducatif de ce genre remportent du
succès, ils doivent parvenir à créer des mécanismes efficaces et
soutenus qui pourront être mis en œuvre efficacement dans les
communautés à l’échelle nationale.
À cette fin, en supposant
que The Humane Society of Canada soit chef de file de la mise en place
et de l’exploitation de ces initiatives, nous sommes prêts à investir
nos ressources pour une valeur de un million de dollars afin de
procéder à l’élaboration de ces programmes éducatifs dans les plus
Je suis conscient de votre préoccupation personnelle en ce qui concerne
le bien-être des enfants et des animaux. C’est pourquoi je me réjouis à
la perspective de travailler avec vous sur ces questions importantes au
niveau des préoccupations sociales.
En attente de votre
réponse, je vous pris d’agréer, Monsieur le premier ministre,
l’expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs.
Nous sommes également prêts à contribuer à la mise en place et à l’exploitation d’une agence nationale qui sera responsable de surveiller et d’analyser les cas de morsures causées par les chiens ainsi que les raisons de ces cas, d’effectuer des recherches scientifiques et d’aider à mettre en œuvre des mesures plus efficaces pour encourager les propriétaires d’animaux à être plus responsables et à réduire les cas de morsures causées par les chiens, ainsi qu’à mieux comprendre les soins médicaux requis pour les victimes de morsures.
Pour qu’une agence et un programme éducatif de ce genre remportent du succès, ils doivent parvenir à créer des mécanismes efficaces et soutenus qui pourront être mis en œuvre efficacement dans les communautés à l’échelle nationale.
À cette fin, en supposant que The Humane Society of Canada soit chef de file de la mise en place et de l’exploitation de ces initiatives, nous sommes prêts à investir nos ressources pour une valeur de un million de dollars afin de procéder à l’élaboration de ces programmes éducatifs dans les plus brefs délais.
Je suis conscient de votre préoccupation personnelle en ce qui concerne le bien-être des enfants et des animaux. C’est pourquoi je me réjouis à la perspective de travailler avec vous sur ces questions importantes au niveau des préoccupations sociales.
En attente de votre réponse, je vous pris d’agréer, Monsieur le premier ministre, l’expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs.
NOTA : Une copie complète des résultats de l’enquête du coroner en Ontario est disponible (en anglais) sur notre site Web à www.humanesociety.com
Rt. Honourable Jean Chretien
Office of the Prime Minister
125 Sussex Drive
Re: National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing on to confirm that The Humane Society of Canada is willing to commit $ 1 million of our resources to prevent dog bites. However, we can't do it without your help and that of the Provincial and Territorial Governments
We are asking for your help in working together with other elected officials and government agencies in a concerted effort to solve this serious health crisis which exists in every community across Canada.
I recently gave expert evidence at a Coroner's Inquest into the death of an Ontario girl. Last year, eight year old Courtney Trempe was playing in a neighbour's backyard just north of Toronto, when she was attacked and killed by the neighbour's five year old dog. The recommendations by Coroner Barry McLellan and the jury are both detailed and practical.
However, they are also greatly disturbing - because they echo those made in February 1998 by Quebec Coroner Pierre Brochu and the jury in their report of the circumstances of the death of five year old Dariane Blouin of St.Tite-des-Caps who was killed by two sled dogs owned by his father.
On a personal note, as a parent with two small children (Pierce is now nine years old and my daughter Elan is four years of age), I am deeply concerned over cases where children and adults have been harmed or even killed, and the dogs destroyed as a result.
Canada is a nation of people who care deeply about animals. There are an estimated 4 million dogs and 4.5 million cats alone living in homes across the country. A study by Statistics Canada estimates that out of 11.5 million households, that every second home has a pet of some kind, everything from birds to hamsters to fish.
In our view, the underlying theme of a National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign is that society needs to protect children and adults, while at the same time fostering an appreciation of the benefits of the age old relationship that exists between people and animals. I am certain you would agree that working to achieve these objectives must be everyone's responsibility.
Therefore, while I am writing to you on behalf of our 110,000
supporters nationwide and on behalf of the millions of families living
with their dogs - I am also writing to you on behalf of those millions
of Canadians who chose not to own dogs and whose interests also need to
The idea of "street proofing" our children,
protecting them from the hazards of traffic, talking to strangers,
taking drugs are all a part of living in today's society. In a like
minded fashion, we need to teach our children and others that they
should know how to recognize and avoid when dogs are going to attack.
While at the same time, we should never forget that for centuries, dogs
have been our friends, our protectors and our companions. Indeed, most
of the 4 million dogs in Canada never bite or kill humans. We need to
strike a balance in this long and positive relationship not by making
people fearful, but by helping the public at large, and dog owners, by
teaching them to develop a healthy respect and awareness of how we
interact with dogs in our society.
We believe this can best be
accomplished by a National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign that provides
realistic short, medium and long range goals and with specific measured
Therefore, while I am writing to you on behalf of our 110,000 supporters nationwide and on behalf of the millions of families living with their dogs - I am also writing to you on behalf of those millions of Canadians who chose not to own dogs and whose interests also need to be respected.
The idea of "street proofing" our children, protecting them from the hazards of traffic, talking to strangers, taking drugs are all a part of living in today's society. In a like minded fashion, we need to teach our children and others that they should know how to recognize and avoid when dogs are going to attack.
While at the same time, we should never forget that for centuries, dogs have been our friends, our protectors and our companions. Indeed, most of the 4 million dogs in Canada never bite or kill humans. We need to strike a balance in this long and positive relationship not by making people fearful, but by helping the public at large, and dog owners, by teaching them to develop a healthy respect and awareness of how we interact with dogs in our society.
We believe this can best be accomplished by a National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign that provides realistic short, medium and long range goals and with specific measured deliverables.
In order to be successful, this campaign would have to embody a number of critical elements, which would result in a balanced program of education and enforcement and at the very least, would include:
- a review of the effectiveness of existing civil and criminal legislation in Canada and other countries;
- the experience of these jurisdictions in launching public education initiatives to "street proof" against dog bites and to encourage more responsible pet ownership (e.g. spaying and neutering, requiring breeders and trainers to be licensed, humane training of owners and their dogs, animals being kept on a harness, leash, muzzle, etc.)
- establishment of a national agency to collect and analyze the reports of animal attacks and related fatalities to record and better understand why these attacks take place and what we can do to prevent them;
- specific recommendations for a multimedia and multifaceted campaign to reduce the number and frequency of these tragedies;
- recommendations on what government agencies and what interagency cooperation would be necessary to achieve these objectives.
The Humane Society of Canada is prepared to assist with the funding, expertise and delivery needed to incorporate this type of program into mainstream public education initiatives and school curricula in every community across Canada.
We are also prepared to assist with the establishment and operation of a nationwide agency that will track and analyze dog bites and the reasons why they take place, carry out scientific research, and work to develop even more effective measures to encourage responsible pet ownership and reduce dog bites, and better understand the patterns of medical care needed for dog bite victims.
In order for such an agency and an educational program to succeed, they must result in the creation of effective and sustained mechanisms that can be effectively implemented in every community nationwide.
To this end, provided that The Humane Society of Canada takes a lead role in the establishment and operation of these initiatives, we are willing to commit $ 1 million of our resources to begin these educational programs as soon as possible.
I am aware of your own personal concern for the welfare of children and animals, and I look forward to working together with you on these important issues of social concern.
Awaiting your reply, I remain, yours sincerely,
NOTE: A full copy of the findings of the Coroner's Inquest can be found by visiting our website
Humane Society of Canada estimates someone suffers a dog bite in Canada every 60 seconds, yet no national prevention program in place
(TORONTO, Ontario - May 25, 2003) - The Humane Society of Canada today launched a public service campaign as part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 22-29) to provide tips to parents and dog owners in a campaign to reduce dog bite incidents. Media reports from across Canada frequently report dog attacks, yet governments typically react with legislation and fines, not education and prevention.
"If we can streetproof our kids against strangers, why not strange dogs?" says Michael O’Sullivan, CEO, Humane Society of Canada. "We can have legislation, but fines arrive after the damage is done - we need a more balanced program of education for dog owners and parents backed-up by smart legislation and law enforcement."
With six million dogs in Canada - one for every five humans - dogs are a part of most people’s daily lives, from the cities to the most remote parts of the country. But O’Sullivan says unlike the US, where Atlanta’s Center for Disease Control tracks dog bites, Canada has no tracking mechanism, so no concerted government action is taken. "Without stats, little national analysis of reasons for an attack is conducted, which means no research is undertaken on how to prevent future attacks on children and other animals."
Streetproofing Tips for Parents
A series of three ads created by TAXI, an award-winning advertising agency in Toronto, will run in transit shelters, magazines and newspapers across Canada. The ads feature graphic images of children with dog bite scars as well as a full-sized image of a dog with a small caption near its mouth that reads "If you’re close enough to read this, you’ve made the same mistake five-year-old Tina Philips made before she was severely mauled." The ads ask people to write or call the federal government with their concerns and offers more information and safety tips on the Society’s Dog Bite Awareness Page. Some tips:
- Encourage children to be aware of all dogs in the neighbourhood
- Teach them not to pet strange dogs, even if the owner says "it’s okay"
- When petting any dog, offer a closed hand first to let the animal smell it first
- Don’t try to feed or taunt dogs with food
- If confronted by an angry dog, don’t panic; try to put a bicycle or jacket between you and the dog. Throw food, a stick or ball behind the dog to distract him/her.
"While our dogs are a part of our family, it’s important to teach children to respect dogs and understand they’re not people," says O’Sullivan. "By educating kids, they can enjoy the wonderful aspects of these faithful and trustworthy animals, while avoiding problems."
Tips for Dog Owners
O’Sullivan says that responsible dog owners play a huge role in preventing dog bite incidents by having their dogs spayed or neutered, choosing the right kind of dog for your living situation, and investing the time and energy to properly train dogs from the time they’re puppies. Some tips:
- Puppies develop personalities between 8-12 weeks, they need and want attention
- Do not send your dog away to be trained without you - training and obedience will help you control you dog in most situations
- Train your dog using rewards of food or affection, punishment doesn’t work
- Make sure your dog is socialized and familiar with people, animals and the sights and sounds of the neighbourhood
Attention TV and Print Public Service Directors: You can download a high-res version of the ads from the Humane Society web site at www.humanesociety.com or call Diane Madeiros at 416-640-5525 x244.
About the PSA Ads
The ads were created by TAXI, and feature shots by renowned photographer, Russell Monk under the creative direction of Taxi’s Zak Mroueh and Lance Martin.
Production was courtesy of Connie Gorsline, with printing by Electric Picture Company.
For more information on how to prevent dog bites, please visit www.humanesociety.com or phone the toll-free number at 1-800-641-KIND.
CONTACT: Al Hickey or Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has 6 grandchildren.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 100 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada works to protect dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals, horses, birds, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. They carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, fund studies to help animals and the environment, work to pass laws to protect animals, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
A registered charity, The Humane Society of Canada depends entirely on donations to support our programs to help animals and the environment. All donations are gratefully acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes. If you would like to support our campaign to protect animals and the earth, please make a donation at www.humanesociety.com. Because when it comes to fighting cruelty, we don’t give up. Ever.
What is it now? I have to worry about something else? No, but you need to be aware of it.
remembered to 'street proof' your kids. You told them to look both ways
before they cross the street. To wear a helmet when they're riding
their bike, skateboard or rollerblades. You've told them not to talk
to, or accept rides from, strangers. You've warned them about drugs and
smoking. What about dogs?
- Dogs are one of the greatest friends your children or your family will ever have.
They are our friends, our companions, and they teach our children responsibility and respect for others.
fact, all of the above reasons are part of the problem. Most dogs never
bite anyone, so we become busy, or don't even think about it, or even
worse pretend it could never happen to us or to our children. That
simply isn't the case.
- Please read the section on Tips for Child Safety and Tips for Dog Owners and explain and practice the safety tips with your children.
under any circumstances leave even your family dog alone with infants
or small children. We need to be very clear on this, because children
have been maimed and killed this way.
- We all agree
that it's important to teach children responsibility, but be realistic.
If you have a small child and a very large dog, or even a very
excitable smaller dog, don't ask your child to try and walk the dog by
him/herself. The last person in the world who will probably admit to
you that they can't walk your dog by themselves is your child.
- Be safe; enjoy your dogs and those in the neighbourhood. Be aware of the need for safety for your children and your family.
- Your dog is
going to be a member of your family for at least twelve to fourteen
years. Make sure that you pick the right dog for the right reason. Some
dog owners, unfortunately mostly men, often want to get a macho dog
because they think it reflects their own personality. Do everyone a
favour, and lighten up. Small dogs also make great pets. If you want to
be macho, go work out at the gym.
- Sometimes, people
will also buy a dog to guard their home, especially after a break in.
Our advice is to get an alarm system instead. Although there are many
reputable dog trainers out there, you should be aware that there is no
licensing or monitoring system for dog trainers. A badly trained, or a
cruelly trained guard dog is a time bomb waiting to go off. If your
guard dog bites or even kills someone, you will never forgive yourself,
and you will be visiting tragedy on someone else, your family and your
dog. You will also be leaving yourself wide open to the possibility of
criminal charges and civil lawsuits.
- There are over
one hundred and fifty breeds of dogs and even more crossbred dogs. Your
local humane society or animal shelter has lots of beautiful crossbred
dogs, which need loving homes. We don't recommend that you buy dogs
from a pet shop because humane societies and animal shelters already
have to kill too many unwanted dogs and cats.
- If you
are determined to buy a purebred dog, then visit at least four
different breeders and make sure you see the mother and father, and see
the way the dogs and puppies react to the breeder, and look at the way
the breeder treats his/her dogs. If the breeder cannot provide you with
registration papers, or says they will mail them to you, then don't buy
a dog or puppy from them.
- Please, please do not allow
your dogs or cats, whether they are purebreds or crossbreds, to have
even one litter. An estimated one million unwanted dogs and cats are
killed each year in Canada because there are simply not enough loving
homes for all of them. Even if you think you can find a home for your
puppies and kittens, that means fewer homes for someone else who has
the same idea as you.
- Be aware that some dogs are
better off living in the country, rather than in the city. If you can't
spare more than two hours (or more) every day to exercise your dog
properly, then don't get a big dog that needs a lot of exercise. Even
smaller dogs should be walked two or three times a day, for a total of
at least an hour.
- In today's fast paced world, the
most precious thing we all have in short supply is time. Most of us are
also two income families and no one is home during the daytime. Make
sure that you adopt the right dog for your family. If no one is home
during the day, then do not adopt a puppy, unless you are willing to
take at least four weeks off to train him or her.
develop their personalities between the ages of 8 - 12 weeks, and they
are very social pack animals. They need and want attention.
going to give you some hard truths, which you may not want to hear. If
you are not around to give them attention, then you are only being
selfish and thoughtless. You will not be able to train your puppy and
will wind up causing heartbreak for yourself and your puppy. You will
wind up with a beautiful six-month-old young dog, who chews, barks,
defecates, urinates or is very aggressive and anti-social, or all of
- You will break your heart, and your dog's
heart, when you decide to call it quits and give him/her up for
adoption. You also place an unfair burden on your local humane society
or animal shelter because you expect them to find a new home for your
young dog, and will blame them if your dog has to be put to sleep. The
new owner also has to undo all of your months of neglect, and retrain
- Some pet shops and breeders say that if you
work all day, then simply put the dog into a cage or a crate and train
the puppy this way. In our view, this is absolute nonsense. Puppies and
dogs are social animals and members of your family. They don't deserve
to live in a crate or a cage any more than you do. No matter how
attractive this solution seems, it is a mistake for you, your family,
and your dog.
- You may be able to adopt an older dog
that is already fully trained, but had to be given up because a person
was moving or developed allergies. Even so, be prepared to take time
off to spend with your dog for the first several weeks, until he/she
becomes accustomed to your new home.
- Spay or neuter
your dogs. This will reduce their aggression and will make them a
healthier happier pet. Another message for the macho guys out there.
Whatever your hang-ups are about having your dog neutered, get over it.
Your dog will still be a real male dog and at the same time be more
obedient and won't be out roaming after females in heat and
contributing to the pet overpopulation crisis.
your dog using rewards of food and affection and encouragement. Never
use punishment because it doesn't work and is harmful. Carefully
investigate any dog trainer and make sure he/she really knows what they
are doing. Do not send your dog away to be trained without you. You
need to be with the dog and be trained alongside him/her. Visit other
dogs the trainer has worked with.
- Make sure your dog is socialized and familiar with people, animals, and the sights and sounds of your neighbourhood.
tease or play aggressive games with your dog. How is your dog supposed
to understand when and where he/she can be aggressive or what their
limits should be?
- Be aware that when you pat your
thigh and tell your dog to jump up on your leg, you are being
submissive and encouraging your dog to dominate you. You are teaching
your dog that it is ok to be aggressive.
- Dogs chase
smaller animals because they regard them as prey. Encouraging this type
of behaviour teaches your dog that it is ok to chase anything they
regard as prey. Why shouldn't your dog then regard children or cats or
smaller dogs as prey?
- Dogs often bark when someone
comes onto your property or knocks on your door. While this is
desirable, do not encourage your dog to go overboard with his
protective behaviour. If you do encourage him, remember you may not be
able to easily get him to turn this behaviour on and off like a light
- If you don't know how your dog behaves around
children, then don't tell children that it is ok to pet your dog. Also
use your own good judgment. If the child seems nervous, or too
aggressive, or has food in his/her hand, don't let them pet your dog.
If you tell a child that it is ok to pet your dog, and their parent(s)
says no, don't take it personally. They are only looking out for their
child's best interests.
- Some dogs are also fearful or
aggressive around children. Don't try and break your dog's habits at
the expense of your own children or someone else's children.
you have an aggressive dog, the worst thing you can do is be in denial.
"My dog is just playing rough" or "My dog would never bite anyone" are
famous last words. If you have an aggressive dog then seek professional
help immediately from your veterinarian. Don't put it off for any
reason, and do not wait for your dog to "grow out of it." That simply
isn't going to happen. The problem is only going to get worse for
everyone involved, including your dog.
- If your dog's
aggressive behaviour cannot be eliminated, then you may decide to
purchase a humane muzzle when you walk him/her outside.
you do, if you have to give up, or even have a veterinarian or animal
shelter humanely kill your dog - do not under any circumstances rush
out and get another dog. Try and figure out what went wrong, and
honestly ask yourself if you were at fault. Be fair to yourself, your
family, your neighbours, and your next dog. If you have had a
particularly serious incident, you may even decide not to get another
dog. Whatever you decide, have a cooling off period of at least several
months and think the decision through logically and carefully.
well-meaning owners take their dogs everywhere with them. They tie
their dogs up outside of restaurants, outdoor cafes and stores - and
then leave them alone "just for a minute" or "just for a little while."
This is an accident waiting to happen, because your dog is surrounded
by a cacophony of sights, sounds, smells and people and children
passing by (some with food in their hand or their shopping bags). When
your dog is tied up, he/she has their movement restricted and they can
become more easily frightened or territorial or may refuse to take no
for answer when that child refuses to give up their ice cream cone.
Give everyone a break, especially your dog, and leave him/her at home
in familiar surroundings.
- Never put your hand in
between two dogs that are fighting with each other. You will only be
bitten by one or both dogs. Try commanding them to stop. If this
doesn't work, then grab one of the dogs by both of his/her hind legs
and pull hard. He/she should let go. If this does not work, try and
distract the dogs by whistling, throwing a ball or stick. Although it
may seem like forever, the dogs will actually stop fighting very
quickly if left on their own.
- Sometimes when a male
and female dog are having sex, the two may become stuck together. The
dogs may cry out in pain, and try and pull away from each other,
adopting unusual positions. All you can do is keep people away from
both dogs until they relax and separate on their own. If you try and
forcibly separate them you will only injure both dogs and will likely
be bitten for your efforts. Some people may suggest that you throw a
pail of water on the dogs, but this will not help. What will help is
having your pet spayed or neutered so your dog doesn't become involved
in one of these incidents.
- If you are not certain how
your dog will react under new and unfamiliar conditions (for example,
like taking them camping or to someone's home for the first time), then
make sure your dog is under firm, but very tight, control for
- Dogs bite due to a combination of
genetics, training and environment and this involves factors which can
include, but are not limited to: food, toys, aggression, defense, fear,
injury, illness, age, sex, and prey.
- Some pet owners
park their vehicle and leave their dogs in the back of their pickup
truck, or inside their car with the windows rolled down slightly. Your
dog may try to protect his/her new "territory" or may become
frustrated, angry or scared due to the unfamiliarity of his/her
surroundings and this can be dangerous for children or adults who try
to pet him/her.
Please leave your dog at home, or leave someone with your vehicle. Cars can be very dangerous places for your pet, in hot weather heat stroke can occur, as can hypothermia in the winter. Never carry your dog in the back of an open pick up truck - this is very dangerous for your dog and other drivers.
- No one expects that you can plan to prevent or control every situation. But you can be aware of potential problems and exercise reasonable care and supervision to prevent and reduce the frequency and severity of dog bites.
Remember to have fun with your dog. They are one of the greatest friends you will ever have.
My son Pierce is 17 years old, and my daughter, Élan is 12 years old. We also have three huskies, 'Sionnaich', 'Taiga' and 'Chewie', a german shepherd named 'LB' and one cat, 'Pasha'. Just because I have worked with all kinds of animals for over 30 years doesn't mean my children have any special protection from dogs or other animals. The only thing I can do is teach them respect, not fear, and to teach them prevention. No matter how hard I try, or how much I'd like it to happen, neither my wife nor I can be with them all the time.
calm, gentle and as quiet as you can around dogs. They get tired,
cranky, and excited just like you do. Because a dog can't speak to you
and let you know these things, you need to try and watch for signs that
let you know when the dog is becoming too scared or excited.
and get to know the dogs in your area. Do not try and pet a strange
dog, even if he/she is with the owner and the owner says it's ok.
Sometimes even a dog owner doesn't always know how their dog will
behave around children.
- Never approach a dog that is
tied up, or that is in a small space. Although you don't mean to, this
can frighten the dog, or cause him/her to try and protect their space
the same way you might not want to share your favourite play space with
- Dogs also have favourite toys, just
like you do. This may be an old blanket, a rubber toy, a ball, or a
chewbone. The dog will not want to share this with you, and you should
never try to approach a dog when he/she has it in their mouth or near
- Imagine eating your favourite chocolate bar or
ice cream cone, and having another child come along and even think
about taking it away from you. Dogs are just the same. If a dog is
eating, then you should not approach him/her because they might think
you're trying to eat their dog food, even though you and I both know
that it's just too yucky to even think about.
- Even if
you're eating your favourite snack or treat, if a dog tries to grab it,
throw it so it falls behind him/her. In their excitement to get your
snack or treat, not every dog has good manners. Whatever you do, don't
try and stop the dog from taking your snack or your treat, because the
dog may try and jump up and take it from you. Don't worry; your parents
will get you another one.
- You know how upset or angry
you become when other children tease you by calling you names or
pushing you. Dogs feel the same way, so please, don't ever tease a dog
with food, or a toy or a stick or anything else.
you approach a dog, even your own dog, don't pet him or her without
letting them see and smell your closed hand first (don't let your
fingers stick out). This way you don't surprise or scare your dog or
another dog. Remember dogs don't see as well as people do, and they
really depend on their sense of smell and hearing.
know what it feels like when your parents and relatives rub the hair on
the top of your head and tell you how big you've grown. You kind of
like it, but it also kind of bothers you at the same time. Dogs feel
just the same way. When you pet a dog, at first try scratching under
his chin and even gently rubbing his chest. If this is ok with him/her
then you can try gently scratching behind their ears or the top of
- Never rub a dog along his/her side or
grab their tail, because believe it or not, when one dog tries to scare
or pick a fight with another dog, this where the trouble first starts.
like to take naps a lot, just like you. So if your dog, or someone else
is sleeping, remember that he/she may be having a bad dream and if you
wake them up too suddenly, you may scare them without meaning to.
know how your mother and father try to make sure that no one hurts you.
Mother dogs are the same with their puppies. Wait for one of the
puppies to come over to you, and keep an eye on the mother to make sure
its ok with her. Only do this if your parents are with you and they say
- Have you ever been in a staring contest with
someone? That's when you stare into another person's eyes to see who
blinks their eyes or looks away first. Try it.
It feels kind of weird or uncomfortable, doesn't it? Dogs are just like us. If you stare into a dog's eyes, this is the way another dog would pick a fight or even scare another dog. Even though you don't mean to, you will confuse your dog and he/she may be scared or think you are trying to pick a fight. Some children also hold onto the dog's head while they are staring into his/her eyes, and the dog can feel trapped or frightened.
know what it feels like when kids play too rough with you by pushing or
shoving? Did you know that when a dog jumps up on your leg, that this
is the way dogs play rough? Even though it seems like fun, this is
where the trouble first starts because you are actually telling the dog
that it's ok for him/her to play rough with you.
next one is really tough. You need to know that while most dogs will
never bite you, there are some that will. I hope you never meet one of
them, but if you do and your parents, or older brother or sister or an
adult is nearby, call for help. If they are not around, or too far
away, then it's going to be up to you to try and help yourself.
- You will be scared, but try to be as brave as you can.
- If you have a bicycle, a jacket, a wagon, a tree branch, or anything else lying around, try and put it between you and the dog.
you have some food, something in your pocket, or can pick up a stick,
or a ball, or even a stone, throw it as far away as you can behind the
dog: the dog may run after it.
- If you think the dog is
going to bite you, try your hardest not to scream or run away, because
this will only show the dog that you are afraid and will cause the dog
to bite you.
- Never turn your back on a dog and try to
run away, because the dog will always run faster than you, and you
won't be able to keep your eyes on the dog.
- Instead, back away slowly, and talk quietly to the dog, telling him what a good dog he/she is.
- If you can, try and walk slowly into a yard, or up onto someone's porch, or someplace safe where the dog can't get at you.
- If the dog does attack, you will have to decide to do one of two things:
people say that the best thing to do is to lie down on the ground, and
curl up into a ball, making a fist with your hands and covering your
neck. Sometimes the dog will still bark and may still bite you, but
eventually the dog will lose interest and will go away.
people say the best thing to do is to pick up something and throw it at
the dog as hard as you can, and kick and fight and scream to try and
scare the dog into running away and leaving you alone.
- You will have to make a choice very quickly, and no one can be sure which is the right one.
- Some people say that the best thing to do is to lie down on the ground, and curl up into a ball, making a fist with your hands and covering your neck. Sometimes the dog will still bark and may still bite you, but eventually the dog will lose interest and will go away.
may be tired of hearing it, but it is true that practice makes perfect.
Work with your parents and friends and learn how to respect our
four-legged friends and how to protect yourself at the same time.
for early warning signs that a dog may be getting ready to bite. The
dog may growl or bark. Someone may have told you that if a dog wags
his/her tail they will never bite, and that is wrong. Sometimes when a
dog is getting ready to bite, he will also wag his tail because he is
very nervous or angry.
- You know how sometimes you
fight with your best friend, or with another child you don't know very
well? Once in a while, dogs do the same thing. If two dogs are
fighting, even if one of them is your dog, never try and stop them.
Because dogs will be so excited, they will bite you by mistake. It may
look like they are really hurting each other, but there is nothing you
can do except call one of your parents or an adult and let them break
up the fight.
- Sometimes two dogs may become stuck
together. Never try and separate them, because you might hurt the dogs
or be bitten by one of them. Instead call an adult and ask them to help.
great that your parents want you to help out around the house by
walking your dog. However, if your dog is too big for you to handle,
even on a leash, then don't be afraid to ask your parents to come with
- Remember that most dogs never bite anyone, but it is always better to be prepared.
There are at least 4.5 million cats and 4 million dogs in Canada. There are an estimated 11.5 million homes and every second one of them has a pet of some kind.
The good news is that most of us regard dogs and cats and other house pets as members of our family. They share our homes and our hearts. They are our friends and our companions and most of them don't ever bite anyone.
The bad news is when they do bite, dogs are usually the pets that deliver the most severe bites, and children are the ones most often hurt, or sometimes even killed.
The Humane Society of Canada is taking a lead role to try and prevent as many bites as possible, and to reinforce the positive relationship which has existed between humans and dogs for thousands of years.
However, since dog bites take place under a wide range of circumstances and for a wide range of reasons, we need to add a word of caution here. There are no hard and fast rules about how to prevent dog bites or even how to stop an attack from resulting in serious injury or even death. For these reasons, The Humane Society of Canada accepts no liability for any use or application of this information.
We also need to advise you that by law, you are required to report every single animal bite to the Medical Officer of Health in your area.
Children have the kind of energy most of us still wish we had. And they love to play.
While dogs have a very acute sense of hearing and a well developed sense of smell, they do not see as well as humans do, and they do not see colours, only shades of greys, whites and black. While some breeds have been identified statistically as causing more bites, we do not believe that simply passing breed specific legislation as some countries and jurisdictions have done will accomplish what people are trying to do - namely prevent the frequency and severity of dog bites.
For example, say an American Pit Bull Terrier bites someone. Is this dog, because of its size, tenacity and breed, likely to cause more damage? The answer is likely, yes.
On the other hand, can a Scottish Terrier cause harm to a six month old child that still hasn't learned to walk? The answer is also likely, yes.
The reason why breed specific legislation doesn't work is just like telling a child that when they cross the street they need to really watch out for a truck, but you also need to tell them about the small cars.
Having said this, people who own, or who are aware of larger, more powerful dogs need to be aware that the potential for physical harm is much greater should this type of dog bite someone - and they need to take extra precautions.
Unfortunately, many children accidentally cause some dogs to attack, either from their games or by simply playing with one another. Anyone who has been around children know that these games are accompanied by yelling, screaming, laughter, running, jumping, and rough housing.
Some children will also try to encourage their own family dog, or a neighbour's dog, to join in the fun. They may crawl on the ground and make animal noises, or they may rough house with the dog, making sudden jerking movements near the dog's head, ears, side or tail. They may try to do all of these things with a very young dog, with an old dog, a nursing female with puppies, or with a dog that simply wants to be left alone.
The most important thing for everyone to remember is that your dog, or in fact any dog, regards you not as a person, but as another dog. And if another dog teased or challenged or frightened your dog, then the other dog would not likely be surprised if your dog fled, growled, or even bit to make him stop.
We need to find a balance, so that our children, their parents and their relatives can recognize that kids can still have fun and play with dogs. However, we need to be aware that even well intentioned behaviour can result in a bite. The key is awareness and respect for your dog and other dogs - not to instill a fear of dogs in children and adults.
"... The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
recognizes that aggressiveness in all dogs and the subsequent dangers
to the public are largely a product of inappropriate methods of genetic
selection, rearing and training ..."
"... Health Canada
recently reported through the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and
Prevention Program that the data collected concluded 'it was clear that
dog bites are, to a point, preventable. The results support the
argument that young children, because of their lack of judgment or
their difficulty in recognizing the dog's warning signs, are more
likely to act in ways the dog considers threatening ..."
According to [a 1994 national telephone survey by] the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention, every 40 seconds a dog bites someone
[in the United States] severely enough to warrant medical attention.
Put another way, every year in the United States, almost 2 percent of
the population is bitten by a dog. That's about 4.7 million bites, of
which nearly 800,000 require medical attention ...
"... The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association recognizes that aggressiveness in all dogs and the subsequent dangers to the public are largely a product of inappropriate methods of genetic selection, rearing and training ..."
"... Health Canada recently reported through the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program that the data collected concluded 'it was clear that dog bites are, to a point, preventable. The results support the argument that young children, because of their lack of judgment or their difficulty in recognizing the dog's warning signs, are more likely to act in ways the dog considers threatening ..."
"... According to [a 1994 national telephone survey by] the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every 40 seconds a dog bites someone [in the United States] severely enough to warrant medical attention. Put another way, every year in the United States, almost 2 percent of the population is bitten by a dog. That's about 4.7 million bites, of which nearly 800,000 require medical attention ..."... A study published by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Journal [in 1998] found that the median age of patients bitten was 15 years, with children; especially boys aged 5 to 9 years, having the highest incidence rate. The authors write that it has been estimated that almost half of all children have been bitten by a dog at some point in their lives ... Children seen [in emergency departments] were more likely than older persons to be bitten on the face, neck and head. ... Considering the risk to large parts of the population, especially to children, it is necessary that effective preventive strategies be developed and applied to reduce the painful and costly burden of dog bites. We know little about what strategies work or do not work. More knowledge is needed through a combination of enhanced and coordinated dog bite reporting systems, expanded population-based surveys, and implementation and evaluation of preventive trials. Particularly for the more severe episodes, information needs to be obtained regarding high risk situations, high risk dogs, and what leads to successful preventive interventions ... "