Feb 24, 2010
"Spork", a 10 year old dachshund was taken to his veterinarian for oral surgery earlier in the month. He is now at the center of a huge debate because the city of Lafayette Colorado has labeled him a "vicious dog" because he bit a veterinary technician on the chin.
FIrst, before I get to my opinion on this matter, let me set a few caveats. One...I was not there, I don't know anything more than what is being reported in the news, so I can't speculate on the actual occurrence. Two...I grew up with Dachshunds and I know their temperment. Three...I have some experience handling aggressive dogs and training veterinary staff on approaching pets and aggressive animals.
Ok...let's dive into this.
My very first question is if the veterinary technician needed to approach Spork and do whatever he needed to do to the pet, WHY was the owner still holding the dog?? First, you are putting the owner in danger of being bitten and second, you are likely making the dog more territorial than usual since he was in the arms of the owner.
Next,, why was your face next to a dog's face? Especially a dachshund's face? As a veterinary employee, there are times when you are going to have your head next to a dog's head, but never when you aren't 100% sure of the restraint. AND...there are several breeds that I would never go face to face with...Rottweilers, Akitas, Chows...and, yes, Dachshunds are included in that list. (Now remember...I like doxies... I grew up with them, but I don't trust them at all, especially around their feet or their faces!)
Next, it seems like the veterinarian and staff might be bearing the brunt of some bad press here. If the bite was severe enough (no report I have found says if the tech needed sutures or not), it might be the outpatient clinic or even emergency room that requested a dog bite report be filled out. The veterinarian's office has posted a statement that says "Jasper Animal Hospital has not advocated for, or participated in any way in subsequent decisions by the City of Lafayette to prosecute Spork's guardians," . In my opinion, I am betting they filed a report because they felt that was the proper and legal thing to do.
So...why are these owners being prosecuted? If I had to guess, I am betting that the city and the city's attorneys are being a little to rigid with their interpretation of the law and that once again, a government is not using common sense when it comes to enforcing the law.
To me, there appears to be several errors here ranging from allowing the owner to hold a pet during a procedure to excessive overexuberhance by city officials to prosecute a "senior citizen" dog. Let's not compound the issue by euthanizing a valued family member.
Maybe we should just simply mark his medical records..."caution...may bite".