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13 thoughts on “2019 Dog Bite Fatality: Dighton Dog Attack Leaves a 14-Year Old Boy Dead and a Community Mourning

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  1. The employer should have been required by law to hire an adult of legal age so as to have proper self defense on his person, instead of having a child working with multiple dangerous animals.

  2. I can relate to this poor young boy. I was in a similar situation. I recall wanting to be responsible, wanting to help out, feeling privileged to do such work with amazing animals. As a teen (16-17), I would often care for dogs belonging to my boss while she was out of town. I tended 7 German Shepherds and 5 Akitas. I cleaned their pens, administered medications, exercised some of them, and even assisted with an Akita’s difficult whelping. They were breeding show dogs and not trained protection dogs, but I could sense their power, and one of the Akitas was overtly aggressive. One thing was made clear: I was not to attempt to handle multiple dogs at the same time. Although my boss insisted on this, I didn’t really quite see the true danger of a pack at that time… and there I was, completely alone, a young girl on an isolated property. Often my parents didn’t even know I had gone to tend those dogs. I do see the danger of my side job now, and I have to wonder why an adult allowed a young person like me and like this boy to do such work.

    • I used to tend to my boss’s Great Danes while she was away at shows, and I was only about 18 and didn’t have a ton of dog knowledge yet. I could have easily done something I shouldn’t have and ended up in a bad situation, but the thought never crossed my mind. They were always so friendly and happy to see me. I ended up buying a puppy from her after helping raise that litter. The dog was my first love.

  3. Both the Belgian Malinois and the Dutch shepherd are naturally very aggressive breeds which can be quite difficult to handle.

    I have little concern about Schutzhund training making these dogs dangerous. In Schutzhund, dogs are ONLY trained to bite the bite sleeve. They get no experience trying to bite bare arms. Schutzhund is also rigid about obedience training. Many dogs that are trained to bite bite sleeves are “sleeve happy”. Those dogs will bite nothing but a bite sleeve.

    In actual police dog training, dogs are taught to bite the bite sleeve in order to build the bite. However, many “hits” are done by dogs wearing basket muzzles. These dogs are often sent after people wearing T-shirts, denim jeans, and sneakers. This is more realistic for police dogs.

    The Dutch shepherds and Belgian Malinois are related breeds. They are generally not acceptable for pet homes. Some police departments have decided to quit buying these breeds for police dogs because control is too often a problem. Officers tell me a Malinois is a German Shepherd on crack cocaine! German shepherds are reportedly more expensive to buy for police work.

    No matter what, there were too many dogs together; and packs are dangerous. In addition, this boy was too young to have been left in charge of the dogs.

  4. I personally had an attack trained GSD, and he was extremely level headed and safe. He also had an AKC utility title. He was never agitated unless I had his leash.

    I’ve seen quite a number of Rottweilers that I would not have considered safe regardless of their training. I personally think it’s foolish to buy an adult, protection-trained dog for a home with young children, and it’s equally foolish to bring in an untrained Rottweiler unless there is documented proof the dog is safe with children.

    On the other hand, a psychiatrist got a GSD puppy for his home; and he had it attack-trained when it was old enough. When an armed intruder got through his security into his home, his seven-year-old daughter commanded the dog to attack. The intruder died of blood loss, and the dog died from being shot. The children were safe.

  5. Really appreciated finding this site. 50 years ago I was a victim of a mauling nothing like Ryan’s and it left me with a real hesitation around dogs and I LOVE animals of all kinds. The press releases around this case left a lot of information out. The comments and clarification on this page helped to clear up confusion. Thank you for your comments and I support them as a lay person, who is an animal and people lover!

  6. This is so disgusting. This child should never have been allowed to work with these dogs by himself! His parents raise and train German Shorthair Pointers – with ZERO human fatalities. Could his parents have been so ignorant about the differences between GSPs and Dutch shepherds & malinois?

  7. More proof that police trained dogs are not safe and that the people who train they are usually frauds.

  8. I hope the investigation is handled properly. if he trains police dogs he probably is friends with the local police. I also hope they checked all the dogs for blood. I hate to be paranoid but these dogs are big money. It would have been easy to clean up one dog and let out another. I am not saying this happened. A good police investigation assumes nothing. Hopefully this gets a good investigation.

  9. I’m Dutch. Our police use dogs. This seems highly unsafe/risky, as discussed in investigative journalism show Zembla, episode ‘Bijten als beloning’ (Biting as reward). I don’t think there’s a version with English subs, unfortunately. Here’s the original:

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