Sherry Davis

Friday, May 16 2014 02:00 PM

SHERRY DAVIS: Let's talk about canine -- and human -- safety

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    By Felix Adamo/ The Californian

    Columnist Sherry Davis.

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By Sherry Davis

A letter from JoAnne Klein asks me to once again remind people not to leave their dogs in hot cars.

JoAnne says, "A couple of weeks ago during a 90-degree heatwave we were leaving San Joaquin Hospital when we saw a small crowd gathered around an older gray van and rushed over to see why the dogs inside were barking frantically non-stop."

She goes on to say, "We were told by the first person on the scene that the dogs (two tiny Chihuahuas) had been in the locked van for over an hour and that animal control had been called, hospital security had been alerted and the owners of the van had been paged to no avail."

As the group made ready to break the window on the van and rescue the dogs, two men, a woman and a small child walked up to get in the van and were greeted with an angry reception from the rescuers who were further enraged when one of the men said that they didn't know the dogs were in the van; the child must have put them inside without their knowledge.

JoAnne, who is 75, says, "I'm fairly sure that if one of the security guards hadn't calmed me down I'd have either broken the windows of the van and/or punched out that incredibly stupid jerk."

***

Of equal annoyance to me are the thoughtless people who insist on walking, jogging or biking their dogs on hot asphalt or pavement.

If the air temperature is 77 degrees, the asphalt temperature is 125 degrees.

If the air temperature is 86 degrees, the asphalt temperature is 135 degrees.

If the air temperature is 87 degrees, the asphalt temperature is 143 degrees.

Let me put this in perspective: Skin destruction can occur in 60 seconds at a temperature of 125 degrees, and an egg fries in five minutes at 131 degrees.

***

The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association has released the results of its 20-year study on the most dangerous dog breeds based on biting statistics and fatalities. They insist their list is purely statistical and should not discourage people from purchasing or owning one of these breeds.

Top 10 most dangerous dog breeds based on fatalities:

Breed ... Fatalities

10. St. Bernard ... 7

9. Great Dane ... 7

8. Chows ... 8

7. Doberman Pincher ... 9

6. Alaskan Malamute ... 12

5. Wolf-dog hybrid ... 14

4. Siberian Husky ... 15

3. German Shepherd Dog ... 17

2. Rottweiler ... 39

1. Pit Bull ... 66

Inclusion of a breed on this list should be a wake-up call to the owners of ANY powerful breed about the responsibility that comes with their breeding, sale, selection and ownership. Sadly, these are just the kind of statistics that have increasingly been shown to have a direct impact on such things as the passage of breed bans, acceptance on rental agreements and skyrocketing homeowners' insurance rates, as well as tarnishing the reputations of many great breeds of dogs.

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I frequently meet with owners who are shocked when I tell them that what they think of as their dog's problem behavior is a direct reflection of the characteristics for which it has been bred. While many potential owners do their homework and research a breed, far too many make their selection based on a breed's visibility on a TV show or on their status as the current fad.

To better aid perspective owners in the selection process (which should result in fewer poor choices being surrendered to shelters), I have decided to add a regular breed feature to this column that will outline breed-specific traits and training issues that should be considered before acquiring a breed. If you have a breed you'd like to see profiled, let me know.

Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/ owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at csi4k9s@ yahoo.com. These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californian's.

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