Saturday, May 04, 2013

Man-bites-dog story more than a novelty; illustrates lack of animal control in many rural areas

For decades journalists have defined news as "man bites dog," not the everyday occurrence of dog bites man (or woman, in this case). But have you ever read a story about a man biting a dog? The Des Moines Register ran one today, and its headline began, "Man bites dog . . . "

Daniel P. Finney reports that "Caren and Laine Henry walked their pet beagle along a gravel road near Laine’s father’s home in rural Madrid on Sunday afternoon" when "a 50-pound Labrador retriever mix . . . bit into her right thigh and abdomen, puncturing the skin in both places. Then the dog went for her face. . . . Laine Henry hustled to help his wife. He fought the dog, which bit his left arm." Caren Henry told Finney, “He finally had to bite the dog in its nose, and it let loose.”

The story is more than a journalistic novelty; it illustrates the lack of animal control in much of rural America. The incident occurred in the northeast corner of Dallas County, which "does not have a vicious dog ordinance that would require criminal penalties for the dog’s owner and potentially lead to the animal being put down," Finney reports. "If the dog clears veterinary health tests after 14 days, it will be released back to its owner. The county has no animal control facilities and no place to quarantine or cage a potentially vicious dog. Des Moines police had impounded the dog in 2012 for attacking another dog." (Read more)

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