Expert says all dogs can be dangerous

Recent Cane Corso dog attacks that left a Trotwood woman dead and a Springfield man severely injured may have some wondering if these types of Mastiff breeds are dangerous. Montgomery County’s dog warden said all breeds can be dangerous.

“Each dog is an individual,” said Mark Kumpf, director of Montgomery County’s Animal Resource Center, 6790 Webster St. “It really doesn’t matter what breed we are talking about. It comes down to owner responsibility.”

Dog owners and potential dog owners need to ask themselves some key questions, especially when it comes to dealing with large dogs, Kumpf said.

“Is this dog one that I can physically control? Can I incorporate its behavior into my lifestyle?” he said. “Any large breed, working dog is a huge responsibility. Owners need to be aware of the type of dog they are bringing into their homes.”

But any dog owner can be caught off guard. Carl Jurgens found his wife, Dawn Jurgens, 76, dead outside their Trotwood home at 821 N. Union Road last Saturday after he put their two Cane Corso dogs into their kennels.

Carl Jurgens told WHIO-TV that he had owned the dogs since they were puppies and didn’t know what caused the dogs to turn on his wife. Dawn Jurgens died of multiple puncture wounds to the head and neck due to a dog attack, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s office.

The two dogs were euthanized at the request of the family, Kumpf said. Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County conducted rabies tests on the dogs and the tests came back negative, according to Bill Wharton, public health spokesman.

It is unclear what led to the dog attacks, but Kumpf said there are some things dog owners can do to help prevent an attack. For example, “Unaltered — those not spayed or neutered — male dogs tend to be involved in the majority of these types of incidents,” he said, adding that spaying and neutering an animal reduces aggression.

Kumpf also encourages dog owners to make sure their dogs are socialized by allowing them to be around other dogs and people. Plus, he stressed that neighbors should report bad dog behavior to the appropriate authorities.

“One of the future indicators of behavior is past behavior. If people have a problem with the dog, it gets out or acts aggressive, those are things that should be reported to the dog warden,” Kumpf said.

The latest attack occurred Tuesday in Springfield when Bruce J. Lasik was riding his bike in the 1300 block of Bellefair Avenue, crossed an invisible fence, and attempted to pet one of three dogs in the area. The dogs dragged him through the yard. Residents in the area tried to get the dogs off Lasik, but only managed to get one off of him. When Springfield police arrived, a police officer shot one of the dogs, which was later euthanized.

That dog was expected to be tested for rabies. One of the dogs ended up in the custody of Clark County’s Humane Society. The third dog was still missing as of Thursday.

Lasik was listed in serious condition Wednesday afternoon, according to a Miami Valley Hospital official.

The attack on Lasik is an example of why Kumpf stresses that pet owners need to create barriers for their pets that will not only keep their dogs from escaping, but also protect those in the community.

“Chaining and tethering a dog is not an appropriate way to confine the animal for a long period of time,” he said.

There were more than 15,000 reported dog bites in Ohio in 2011, and Kumpf says responsible owners could help reduce that number.

“If you are not thinking of it from a safety standpoint, look at it from a financial safety standpoint,” he said. “If you are negligent in the care and control of your dog, you could lose everything you worked for your entire life. Insurance companies can drop you.”

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