Editor’s note: Fatal dog maulings almost always have mitigating factors — like the dog being sick, unaltered, abused, unsocialized, or some combination of these — that the media seldom takes into consideration. What we know for sure is that dog-bite related fatalities are not a breed problem. Any dog of any breed if left unsocialized or if abused can become dangerous. Pete Murphy with the Dubuque Regional Humane Society sums it up best in the article below when he says, “There’s a potential for this to happen with every breed… it’s very important to supervise dogs with kids as well as socialize and train them.” Indeed, even small-breed dogs have been known to kill infants, so parents, grandparents, guardians, etc. must always be vigilant.
Please contact* the Hopkinton Mayor and City Council at the following address and politely inform them that breed-specific legislation does not prevent dog bites/attacks; that it is ineffective, unenforceable, and has been ruled unconstitutional:
Hopkinton City Hall
115 First St SE
PO Box 154
Hopkinton, IA 52237-0154
From KWWL NBC 7:
We now know the name of a three year old girl killed after she was mauled by dogs this weekend. And some government leaders say they may make changes in their city as a result of the attack.
Authorities say Saturday, two rottweilers mauled three-year-old Vanessa Husmann in her backyard in the 200 block of Third Street SE in Hopkinton.
Authorities say the child was in the care of her 18-year-old stepbrother at the time.
…The Hopkinton City Council is re-examining its animal control laws. Right now, the laws ban pit bulls and “vicious animals”. Some council members hope to include rottweilers.
Leaders of the Dubuque Humane Society say not every Rottweiler is vicious.
“There’s a potential for this to happen with every breed, as well as, it’s very important to supervise dogs with kids as well as socialize and train them,” says Pete Murphy with the Dubuque Regional Humane Society.
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office says the medical examiner is investigating the nature of the attack. The dogs were euthanized reportedly at the owners’ request.
*Thanks to BSL Updates for providing this contact information.
3 responses to “Hopkinton, Iowa to consider additional BSL after Rottweiler mauling”
I hope a full investigation of this tragedy is conducted. Not just training, but the right kind of training is required. We know that certain types of training result in a tendency toward greater aggression (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217141540.htm). Proper supervision and child education are also essential for preventing bites. I just gave a talk on child safety around dogs and bite prevention this morning. If anyone is interested, they may contact me through my website: http://www.dubuquedogtraining.com.
Reports vary on this tragedy. I’ve been told by someone in the area that the dogs were constantly penned, unsocialized, and possibly unaltered and abused: a recipe for catastrophe with any breed. Hopefully investigators will get to the bottom of what really happened, but if what I’m hearing is true, then that situation was just a tragedy waiting to happen.
As I said in the post above, there are almost always mitigating factors in dog-bite related fatalities. One thing we know for sure, it has nothing to do with the breed so if Hopkinton looks to ban Rottweilers because of this incident, then they will definitely be barking up the wrong tree (no pun intended). Humans failed in this case; not the dogs, and certainly not the breed.
Today I had a sobering experience. I traveled to Hopkinton, Iowa to provide a bite prevention talk to children at the public library.
One astute young child asked if the talk was because of what had happened two years ago this month. I explained what a coincidence was, and went on to tell the children how my talk would help them stay safe. It was hard to know what to say.
The incident that happened two years ago was a terrible tragedy that still leaves many unanswered questions. At least I was able to do my small part to keep children safe.
It is my hope that some healing has occurred in this community and that we can all go forward with education that will keep the children and community safe and prevent an incident like this from ever happening again. It is my sincere hope that the community has learned that breed-specific legislation is not the answer.