In Denver every winter, dog rescues show up in the news on a weekly — sometimes daily — basis. Dogs venture out onto frozen ponds and lakes, fall through the ice, and are rescued by local firefighters.
This particular story was televised last night and I stepped around the corner from the kitchen to watch. As usual, I got a little misty eyed. The unfortunate part, however, is that I couldn’t help thinking the dog looked like a pit-bull type (I know, I know, “pit bull” is not a breed). Denver, you see, has a controversial ordinance banning pits, as do several other municipalities in the area, including Lakewood, where this rescue occurred. So I wondered what the aftermath would be, whether the owner would come forward, what would happen to the dog, etc.
As it turned out, the owner was on the scene. The dog had been off his lead and “chased a coyote onto the ice.” (The coyote was never found.) Bad owner. There are strict leash laws throughout the metro area.
Then this morning I turned on the news and the first story I heard was that the dog, owner, and rescuer had been at the TV station doing an interview when the dog suddenly bit the interviewer in the face. The interviewer, a beautiful vivacious young woman and one of my favorite local personalities, was rushed to the hospital. They said she wasn’t seriously injured, but in my book a dog bite in the face is always serious.
I don’t know what set the dog off, but I plead guilty to stereotyping. I can’t help feeling a need for caution with dogs like this. And that caution kicked in when I first saw this dog, later reported to be an Argentine mastiff. The owner, of course, was irresponsible in letting that dog off his lead in the first place, and had he not done that, the rescuer would not have risked his life, the reporter would not have been bitten, and I would not be several degrees more wary of so-called “pit bulls.”
According to Wikipedia, in many countries it is illegal to import or own a Dogo Argentino because of their temperament, and there are laws against the breed in various parts of the U.S., including Colorado. All things considered, we may not have heard the end of this story.
Update: Someone posted the biting incident on YouTube:
Update: The noon news said the dog is being held by Denver animal control and an April court date has been set. The owner has been cited because his dog bit someone and for violating leash laws, not maintaining control of his dog, and not having the dog vaccinated for rabies. The report also said Dyer, who was hospitalized, is assuring viewers she’ll be fine. I wonder if, when she said that, she’d heard that the dog had not been vaccinated …
Denver takes a very hard line on vicious dogs and dog bites and the subject has been hotly debated for years. The debate will probably be reignited with this story. Meantime, there’s a good chance this dog will end up being euthanized because of an irresponsible owner.
Update: A follow-up report and video from Channel 9 News.
Update: The 5 pm news reported that Dyer is in “fair” condition following reconstructive surgery. She’s still in the hospital.
Update: Another local TV station noted that the coyote the dog was chasing also fell through the ice but did not survive.
(Additional rescue video at 9News.com.)
Check back for updates to this post as more information becomes available.
- Dogo Argentino (dogster.com)
- Rescued dog bites TV anchor during broadcast (sfgate.com)
- Dog bites Denver TV anchor’s face during interview (cbsnews.com)
- Dog Bites KUSA Anchor During Newscast (denver.cbslocal.com)
- Breed Bans are Bad….ok that might be over-simplifying (animalrescueblog.wordpress.com)