In Luxembourg“Never leave a child alone with a dog, even the family dog”
LUXEMBOURG – While two young children have been killed in the United States by family pit bulls, how can such tragedies be avoided in the private circle?
Two pit bulls attacked and killed two children aged 2 years and 5 months at the family home in Memphis, USA this week. The mother who tried to come between her dogs and the little ones was seriously injured. A drama whose circumstances are unknown and around which it is useless to extrapolate for the moment, but which rests the debate around this kind of news item. “When it’s pit bulls or Malinois, of course, everyone talks about it!”, Regrets Christian Bourgatte, behaviorist for dogs in Dudelange.
According to him, without taking anything away from this tragedy, it is useless to stigmatize a breed of dogs in particular since all, and “especially small dogs”, can be led to react badly even in the private context and with respect to their own masters.
“A fortnight ago, I intervened in a family where the little dog, a cross, had torn two fingers off a little girl”, explains the professional for whom those responsible are, in most cases, the masters and not the ‘animal. “A dog does not come into the world badly”, supports the one who estimates to take care of “around 300 dogs per year”, in the Grand Duchy and at the borders, for behavioral problems, including “about fifty who went as far as the bite”.
“Apply a good education, no matter if it’s a pit bull or a chihuahua”
Luxembourg has never experienced tragedies such as that of Memphis. “Personally, I’ve never even had cases of serious bites, disfigured people,” says Laurence Champagne, also a behaviorist for dogs based in Bettembourg. “But there are attacks in Luxembourg too, it often happens as elsewhere, even cases of dogs killing other dogs during a walk… but we never talk about it,” adds Christian Bourgatte. When questioned, the Grand Ducal police were unable to provide detailed statistics on Thursday.
Anyway, how to avoid the maximum to arrive there? “Put rules in place very quickly, as soon as the puppy arrives. Sometimes, I even accompany families before they have the dog, to find a suitable breed, to prepare the reception as well as possible”, explains Laurence Champagne.
“It’s never too late to work with the dog”
“We must avoid new sectors, opt for a good breeder and apply a good education, there is no secret. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a pit bull or a chihuahua”, justifies Christian Bourgatte, who nevertheless reminds us to “never leave a child alone with a dog, even the family dog”.
The two professionals admit that dogs can be disturbed for other reasons, too, related to the context of their birth, their origin and the facts of life they may have gone through. “But it’s never too late to work with, if the families call us”, persuades Mr. Bourgatte. “I followed, in Luxembourg, a dog who had spent five years locked up on a balcony, without ever coming out. A neighbor picked him up, he could be aggressive but never with her”, illustrates Laurence Champagne. Neither of the two professionals in Luxembourg has had, until now, to recommend the euthanasia of an animal deemed dangerous, in the worst case placement in another setting.