As the parent of a child who was mauled by a dangerous dog (but not to death, as happened in the wrenching tragedy yesterday with the Carroll County five year-old named Tiffany Pauley), I know one thing now: this horror, this carnage in our neighborhoods must stop. But how? I'm baffled. I don't really know where to begin. But let me say this much, let's prioritize and start with a focus where it should be: on the dangerous, irresponsible dog owners. Then we can move on to the other problem: dumb, stupid, instinct-driven, very dangerous animals.
Right now, as Doug Monroe reported in the July issue of Atlanta Magazine, as currently on the books, "if you own a dangerous dog in Atlanta, chances are the law is hideously, irresponsibly on your side." In this article, Doug wrote about my own child's case, although I declined to be interviewed for the article as I still find it extremely difficult to recount the details of that one afternoon at Lake Lanier, Mother's Day, 2006. I referred him to my ex-husband and his lawyer instead.
Unfortunately, there is no online version of the "Dangerous Dog" article to link you to, just this utterly useless Table of Contents. (Why no online version, Atlanta Mag? You still believe in the power to distribute a dead tree?)
I urge you to try to find a copy of the July Atlanta Magazine, read it, and send me any of your suggestions on how we can begin to raise awareness (change laws?) about preventing and stopping the hideous mauling of humans by an increasing numbers of deadly, dangerous dogs (and their irresponsible owners) in our midst.
We can't keep turning on the news to hear about another tiny, helpless child's death by being ripped to shreds by an animal that should never have been among populated communities in the first place. It's taken me over a year to begin to even try to write about my thoughts and feelings on this issue, so great has my personal shock and trauma been over this matter.
At least I can now watch a news story about the horror of it all without running to the bathroom to throw up. I'll call that, for lack of anything else, a start in some effort some how, some way, to do something. Whatever I can somehow muster to do that could prevent just one child, one family from going through the suffering we have.