Special Report: When Your Dog Attacks

Even though dogs are considered man's best friend, any dog has the potential to bite.

That's why several communities recently passed dangerous dog ordinances.

New members to CrossFit might be intimidated by part of the ownership. Nine month old Oly, short for Olympic, has been coming to the gym since he was 10 weeks old. It's taken some education both for Oly and members breaking the stigma that he's a dangerous dog.

"It just happens to be a stereotype that we can't shake, they're big dogs, they're typically very powerful, they can get upwards of 120 pounds or so," said Kris Morrill, CrossFit Owner.

But Oly would rather lick his workout partners than bite or attack them. He's trained not to bark. "It's not that he's any different than any other breed, I think that the way he's been raised makes all the difference in the world."

Because of his breed there are some rules. "Don't rough house with him, don't do things with him that you wouldn't do with another person, in fact he his own little person."

With two more at home Kris Morrill's had to educate neighbors and their children, too. "Anybody that tells you that a dog will not bite is giving you a false pretense because, a dog will never say hey I'm not going to bite this person, you can't tell what a dog's thinking," said Morrill.

He worries if provoked by a child, through the fence, his dogs would act defensively. "Unfortunately their way of playing with a dog that's inside a fence is often times showing aggression towards that animal whether they're jumping at them or they're throwing something that them or poking something at them through the fence. Animals don't like that."

When a dog is classified as dangerous, it's difficult for an owner to keep it...

Leaving Kris with a tough decision. "He is just as much a part of my family, as if I had children myself, however if he was to hurt another individual, you would have to put him down, if he showed that type of aggression towards one person then he would obviously show that aggression toward somebody else."

It happened to Ke'Andra Davis in Lee County. In December, her pit bull, Zeus, bloodied a young girl's head and tore the flesh on Davis' mother's arms in an unprovoked attack. He was classified as a dangerous dog. Davis tried, but couldn't meet the guidelines.

"They say they will, but as of this date I have nobody, once I classify that dog as dangerous, able to do the things that they have to do in order to keep it," said Jackie Grigg of Lee County Animal Control

In every community a dog that bites is quarantined. "Usually they are quarantined for 10 days behind two locks at a veterinarian's office where you can't touch them for those 10 days," said Dr. Steve Whatley of Bush Animal Clinic.

In Lee County the owners get certified letters, alerting them of the rules they must follow to keep a dog like Zeus. It's costly.

"Has to be in a pen with a top and bottom, it has to have a surety bond of I think $15,000, they have to a have a muzzle on when out of the pen, you have to register them with the county," said Grigg.

This Albany girl shows the effects of a dog attack. It could have been much worse,
but she was lucky...


Every dog has the potential to be dangerous. "Even a Chihuahua who bit someone who had diabetes who was immune compromised from having received chemotherapy could be life threatening to that person too," the Vet said.

Zeus' actions cost him his life. "Zeus was euthanized; his owner did turn him over to us. Being classified we can't do nothing with them," said Grigg.

Here are the Dougherty County dog attack numbers for 2012: 12 attacks on humans, 4 on other animals.

In 2011, 151 attacks on humans, and 56 on animals.

In Worth County, 2012 to date, Animal to Animal: 6, Animal to Human: 6.

Worth had 125 attacks in2011, 57 against other Animals, and  68 against humans.

In Lee County in 2011, there were 37 Dog attacks on humans, and 13 on animals.

In 2012, six human attacks and one against an animal.

It's the last thing Kris Morrill wants for Oly. He believes owning a potentially dangerous dog is a responsibility.

"Any dog will bite, you have to be careful not to put them in a situation, not to let them get in a situation where he could be a harm to someone else," said Morill.

"Any action that, that pet makes is ultimately going to fall back on its owner," said Whatley.

Which is why all owners should be prepared for their dogs to attack.

So why are some dogs classified as potentially dangerous? It has to do with their jaw structure.

Click HERE to see Dawson's Dog Ordinance, in a .PDF file. It will open in a new window.

Click HERE to see more dog bite reports and statistics from Dog Bite dot Org. It will open in a new window.

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