The Herald Bulletin

March 28, 2014

Editorial: Pet owners, not dogs, are to blame for bites


The Herald Bulletin

---- — It feels like spring’s gift of warmth is just around the corner, and we humans aren’t the only ones longing to stretch our legs in the sun.

Many of our four-legged friends, dogs in particular, have spent the bitterly cold winter cooped up in the house, watching out the window as yet another snowfall blanketed the ground. While some canines enjoy a romp through the mysterious white fluff, others detest its intrusion on their grass. No doubt all our Fidos and Fifis are more than ready to explore the bounty of smells spring brings.

But as you open the door to let your pooch out to do his business or get some exercise, remember that it’s your responsibility to make sure your pet is properly restrained — for the safety of your neighbors, your mail carrier and your dog.

Rising temperatures regularly bring with them a spike in dog bites. Local hospitals report a significant uptick during warmer months, and the United States Postal Service is concerned enough about incidents that it sent a postcard to Madison County residents last week stating that pet owners can be held responsible for medical expenses and other costs if a postal worker is bitten. Mail delivery to the address may also be suspended if a dog poses a threat to a mail carrier.

About 600 Indiana mail carriers have been bitten by dogs in the last four years. But we shouldn’t blame the pooches or a particular breed. They are simply acting like dogs.

It’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure a pet is properly restrained behind a fence or on a tie-out. Better yet, pet owners should spay or neuter their dogs, which tends to diminish their territorial aggression, and socialize them with people and other pets.

It’s all part of being a responsible pet owner, something many in our county could get much better at.

In summary Making sure your pet is properly restrained outside is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.