Be safe around strange dogs

Written by Observer editorial reports October 21, 2011 07:35 pm
Being that La Grande is such a dog-intensive city, and Northeast Oregon in general is fond of its pooches, it’s a good idea that local law enforcement is giving students a chance to learn how to interact with animals. Most dogs are friendly. Some dogs are dangerous. It’s important to know, whether kids or adults, how to approach them — and what to do if they attack.

The story of Greenwood Elementary School third-grader Daxon Barnhart is a case in point. Daxon survived an attack from a German shepherd this fall thanks to skills he learned during presentations by the animal enforcement division of the Union County’s Sheriff’s Department.

In 2010 in the United States, 33 dog attacks resulted in death. Twenty of the victims were children and 13 were adults. In the period 2006 through 2008, 19 dog breeds were responsible for 88 fatalities, with pit bulls accounting for 59 percent of these deaths and rottweilers accounting for 14 percent. Not all pit bulls and rottweilers are dangerous, however. A lot of it depends on their environment and the responsibility of their
owners.

Now the La Grande School District is banning the pit bull used in the presentation, saying it is too much of a threat. Hopefully another dog can be found to pinch hit, because such presentations as the ones being given by the sheriff’s department do a great service to the community. All Union County schools should try to get these presentations onto their schedules. They just might save a life.