After a woman was shockingly mauled by her pit bull dogs, a canine expert has explained how to prevent such a vicious attack from happening. Get the EXCLUSIVE details.
22-year-old Bethany Lynn Stephens from Virginia was sadly mauled and killed by her pit bull dogs on Dec. 14 and now experts are speaking out to dog owners everywhere about how they can prevent such a tragic attack from happening to them. “All dog owners, regardless of the dog they choose can reduce the risk of their dogs biting and injuring them by learning to recognize the kinds of interactions that make their individual dog uncomfortable and avoiding them if that’s practical,” Janis Bradley, Director of Communications and Publications at the National Canine Research Center, EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife.com. “If a dog is warning his owner about interactions that can’t be avoided, the best course is to teach the dog that these things are in fact benign, even pleasant, usually with the aid of a professional behavior consultant.” Although pit bull dogs have a bad reputation when it comes to violence, many vicious attacks are still often shocking for the owner and those who knew the dogs. This remained true in Bethany’s case when her friends had a hard time believing the loving dogs would do such a thing.
Despite the fact that an attack like Bethany’s has given reason to believe pit bulls are the most dangerous breed of dogs, Janis says there’s no scientific evidence to back that up. “Such a claim in any case would be meaningless with regard to “pit bulls” since this is not a breed nor even a recognized group of breeds,” she continued. “It is simply the reporting person’s idea of the dog’s appearance and no more likely to have anything to do with the dog’s behavior than a report of a person’s appearance.” Janis says that every dog must be looked at as an individual and that a dog’s future behavior can only be predicted by previous behavior in the same situations.
When it comes to that behavior consisting of biting their owners, Janis explained that it is probably because they spend more time with their owners than strangers and therefore there are more opportunities for conflicts to arise. “It has nothing to do with a particular dog demographic,” she confirmed. What sets off a pit bull or any dog to get vicious? It’s less about wanting to hurt people for sport and more about feeling they need to defend themselves, according to Janis. “Some dogs are possessive about their toys, or food, or favorite resting places, for example,” she said. “Some fight back when attacked by people using violent training methods. Some bite when in pain or when physically pressured to approach something that frightens them. Some redirect on anyone who touches them when they are in the midst of an argument with another dog, a bit like tapping a guy engaged in a bar fight on the shoulder and having him swing on you. This is only a small sample of possible provocations, none of which have anything to do with breed.”
Our hearts and healing wishes continue to go out to anyone affected by Bethany’s death.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think about Janis’ advice? Tell us here.