man’s best friend becoming our worst nightmare?
recent weeks the news of dog attacks has made local and national headlines
and has led many to wonder why dog attacks are becoming more frequent. But
what is really driving these animals to injure and kill?
recent months dogs attacks have made headlines in Southeast Queens.
A Rotweiler – dubbed “the man stopper.” (Above) Animal trainer
Anthony Jerone with one of his “canine students.”
Photos By Ira Cohen
last year two people were brutally attacked while on a boardwalk in
was early on the morning of Dec. 26 2001, when 74-year-old Lev Liberman
decided to take a walk along the Rockaway Boardwalk.
he encountered a pack of five dogs that included a pit bull, two
Rottweilers, and two mixed-breed dogs.
dogs attacked him and according to police accounts, Liberman was severely
mauled before the dogs attacked a second victim, jogger Marlene Fils-Aime
was left virtually unrecognizable form the attack and according to doctors
his arm was nearly ripped off by the vicious dogs.
October of 2000, a stray dog turned vicious at a Jamaica daycare center in
attacking three children and held a child clenched in its jaw as adults
beat the dog with bricks and a metal pole.
stray dog followed a woman into the day care center through an open door,
according to police.
to a neighbor, the dog was one of two that had roamed the neighborhood and
harrased a mother and a daughter earlier that day.
two-year-old child was treated for severe lacerations to his face and a
second child was treated for other severe wounds.
a recent incident in South Ozone Park, cops had to shoot a pit bull to get
the dog to stop attacking a 12-year-old girl
In January in San Francisco California, a woman was killed in an apartment
hallway by a vicious Rotweiller.
dog’s owners now stand trial on murder and manslaughter charges.
dog attacks a growing trend?
according to Health Department statistics there were 7,075 dog bites in
New York City in 1997 and 1,000 complaints involving dogs.
same year police and animal control authorities had to round up 892 biting
dogs — 200 more than the year before.
that amount, 33 percent were pit bulls or pit-bull mixes, though they make
up only an estimated 15 percent of the city’s dogs.
James Sanders told those in attendance at a Town Hall meeting in January
that incidents like the one that took place on the Rockaway Boardwalk
should be taken seriously.
to Sanders spokesperson Nick Moore, citizens complained of the stray dogs
that are usually located “in the same place, under the board walk and
Task Force being assembled to address the situation has plans for
“bringing in city agencies in charge to come up with a recovery to crack
down and pick up the dogs before another attack,” and has contacted
Mayor Mike Bloomberg to inform him of the community problem.
are stray dogs, some are unleashed, domesticated dogs whose owners allow
them to leave and return at night,” Moore stated.
“We do not want another Newark attack, where the dog bit 14
different people before it was taken away.”
are a lot of stray dogs [in the Rockaways].” Community Board 14 District
Manager Jonathan Gaska said. “This
[December 26th] was a vicious attack,” Gaska commented.
“It was the first I can recall in five years.”
expert Anthony Jerone told the PRESS, “It’s a prey
driven instinct in a dog that qualifies him to be a leader.”
has trained dogs for 32 years and along with his wife Mary runs the Fresh
Meadows-based Academy of K-9 Education.
leader will chase anything that moves to investigate with curiosity,” he
said. “The man attacked in the Rockaways, was a jogger-and created a
panic situation, by screaming, or waving his arms because the dog views it
as a threat and tried to kill the threat by reaching those moving objects,
for example arms,” Jerone added.
is important to maintain a heightened awareness of the animals around us
and learn enough to handle a situation if it occurs,” according to the
Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC).
is no reason to lose your love for dogs or be frightened to go to a park
or ride a bike,”CACC Director for Shelter Operations Theresa Geary said.
leader will determine the level of threat it feels and instruct the pack
to act appropriately, it is a means of survival. In a household, dogs rely
on the pack and humans become a part of that pack, hopefully the human is
the leader. The top dog in the house will have the first pick of toys and
other items, favorite sleeping areas or treats,” Geary added.
the leader of the pack feels threatened and the group of untrained dogs
follows the leader, they will attack as well,” Jerone said. “What I
teach mail carriers to do is to walk away calmly, feed them the mail,”
Jerone said. “Prescribe
words they are familiar with. No. Sit. These are usually words they are
familiar with,” Jerone said.
way to respond is to, “Play ‘possum. If you don’t look interesting
enough, they will leave,” Jerone said.
to Jerone, “what they are teaching shark trainers now is to punch it in
the nose, if it tries to attack — the same applies to wild dogs.”
For Dogs And Owners
Rotweiller dogs are called “the man stopper,” according to Jerone
because they will “knock you down, because they weigh 100 plus pounds
and have 2, 800 pound bite per square inch,” while the pit bull called
the “ultimate gladiator,” is a “bone crusher with a 3,800 pound bite
per square inch,” Jerone noted for pet owners to be advised of what dog
is bred for.
Presario Canario that killed the lady in California is like a gorilla,
they are bred to heard cattle. There are no cattle here.
So now they’re looking for cattle and become a great puller, You
[the owner] end up being taken for a walk.” Jerone said.
Academy of K-9 education offers a free “Doggie Boot Camp” to dispel
the do’s and the don’ts for people and dogs. Half the battle is to
train the dog, who has the mind of a three year old child.” Jerone said.
other half of the battle is to train the owner, who has no idea what to do
with the animal,” Jerone said.
best time to train a dog is when the dog is “between four and six months
[in age] when the brain is five percent matured.
This way the dog can regress or progress in their character,”
Jerone said. “You
know the saying, you are what you eat – the same applies to dogs. A lot
of dogs aren’t performing to standard and could be mentally and
physically impaired because of poor eating habits. They must be on a
schedule – this information is a part of the package we offer.”
preservatives BHT and BHA found in certain dog food, “and some human
food,” according to Jerone, can cause, “tumors, ulcers and cancer,
over the years. Read the labels,” Jerone advises. “Choose the natural
vitamin E preservative. Most dog food manufacturers do not like the
vitamin E preservative because it only has a shelf life of six months; the
BHT and BHA make the food last for one year.”
Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC) advises “Animals can behave
differently with their owners then when alone as a stray running lose.
Some dogs may protect their owners or can be friendlier without
them. As a general rule when
trying to determine how to behave when approached by a stray dog it is
important to remain calm, do not flail your arms or run unless chased and
do not look the dog in the eyes as that can be construed as a threat or a
dominant act towards the dog.” Most importantly, contact your nearest
health care provider immediately,” if you are bitten by a dog,” Geary
Wild Animals Off The Street
animal rescue organizations in Queens service homeless dogs by providing
the appropriate shots, as well as shelter to prevent animal cruelty and
Haven is a shelter for these dogs located at 35-22 Prince Street in
Flushing, while Queens
located at 92-29 Queens Blvd., in Rego Park. The organizations then look
for adoptive parents for the pets.