SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Dog Attacks
By Marina Hinkle


September 02, 2008

Many of us are dog lovers, and it seems an old Ketchikan tradition for many dog owners to allow their faithful companions to run free. Most of us tolerate this with little or no complaint. There are, of course, the occasional close calls along Tongass Highway, or the unfortunate dog that is hit and killed by a car. I have never understood this behavior of dog owners, but I am not here to change the beliefs or practices of others.

What is important is that dog owners be aware of what their lovely loyal companions are capable of, and what they're doing when you're not watching. I work as a nurse in the ER and have listened to many terrorized Ketchikan residents recount their "tales" of terror as a seemingly nice dog attacked them. Many of these attacks occur outside of stores as people walk by dogs that are tied up.

Yesterday, the reality of this danger touched me personally as I walked out of Safeway with my little son and my husband. We walked by a dog tied to a bench. I quickly moved my little boy out of the dog's reach, and as I did that, placed myself in its path and the dog attacked me. It attacked me from behind, biting my purse instead of flesh. My husband yelled at it and it let go. We reported the incident to Safeway personnel, who took action immediately by keeping people away and calling for animal control.

I've also helped Ketchikan residents who have been attacked by dogs roaming free. Folks, your dogs might be great at home, but you can't predict how they will behave towards people they don't know. Many of these attacks are unprovoked, and you are held responsible for any injuries they inflict. It's not ok to let our young children wander the streets unattended, so why is it ok to allow our dogs to wander? Are they not regarded as part of your family? Are they not in need of guidance? Do they know to watch for cars, or to not bite people because it's socially unacceptable in the human world? Are they taught to not go potty on the sidewalk or in people's yards? What if they get hurt or abused?

My goal is to bring this problem to light, and to caution people to keep away from dogs that are tied up. Warn your children to stay away from dogs they don't know. And, for you dog owner's.. be mindful of the fact that your dog is still your responsibility even when you aren't watching it.

Marina Hinkle
Ketchikan, AK


Received September 02, 2008 - Published September 02, 2008


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