Friday, July 13, 2007

Her Name Was Tiffany

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.

3 comments:

biggy said...

I absolutely agree with you on this issue, especially since Lola's dogbite incident, but regarding the Carroll County tragedy, I understand that the dog was chained to a tree in the owner's backyard and had not previously bitten anyone before. Not sure the the owner can be labeled irresponsible in this case.

Grayson said...

We too were told that the dog that bit Ava had never bitten before. It came out, in legal proceedings, that the dog had indeed bitten before, several times. The owners lied right down to the bitter end. (The case has since been settled.)

We simply do not know all the facts yet in the Tiffany Pauley case. And we may never know them all. Best thing is to expect the unexpected. And I'm so very sorry to hear that Lola too was bitten by a dog. I didn't know that. I have some catching up to do with you guys, obviously!

I hope all is ok, or getting better at least, by now.

Shelby said...

Well, as I'm reading in reverse chron order, you've already gotten the comment about where my dog biases lie, so the follow-up is: how do we know, even as dog owners, what a dangerous dog is? Like you prior to May 2006, I've only though of black labs as loyal, loving family dogs; when does the BBD become a threat?

In Tiffany's case, it was a Rottweiler, wasn't it? That is a bit easier to have a gut feeling about: they're basically bred to be guard dogs, and I have only met one that didn't make me nervous as hell. But it was chained in its own yard, so there's a third problem beyond the dogs and dog owners that needs to be tackled here.