Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, PhD, CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”

Widget not in any sidebars

Dog Bite Safety | How to avoid being killed by a pack of Daschunds

Fifty-two-year-old Tracy Garcia was outside her home when a pack of mixed Daschunds owned by a neighbor fatally attacked her Daschund fatal dog attackon May 10, 2018, in Ardmore Oklahoma. Three females and four male Daschunds were involved.  All were under 40 pounds and ranged in age from about 1 to 3 years. Police shot and killed one dog, and the other six were euthanized.

Information is sketchy about how the incident happened. Online news stories report that the dogs were loose. and that most appeared neglected.  Other thing that not much is known given that there were no witnesses.   One can only speculate about what prompted these dogs to attack Ms. Garcia and wonder if she provoke the dogs in some manner or if there was ongoing hostility between her and the dogs, and possibly the  owner of the dogs.  Having said that, this tragic incident provides some ideas about dog bite safety.

Dog bite safety – How to avoid being killed by a pack of dogs

  • First, a pack of dogs running loose may pose an extreme danger to public safety. This has been the fact pattern in many fatal dog attacks.
  • Second, Daschunds are not necessarily the docile breed many people make them out to be. A report published in a peer-reviewed animal behavior journal found that Daschunds along with Jack Russell Terriers and Chihuahuas overall were the most aggressive breeds.
  • Third, other fatal dog attacks have involved Daschund mixed dogs. One happened in a well-publicized incident in Philadelphia in the late 1980s. This deadly dog attack involved a group of mixed Daschunds who lived with a disabled elderly lady (the victim). These dogs were tested individually and together as a group. When examined separately each dog was okay, but when brought together as a pack their aggression returned.
  • Fourth, never act in a provocative fashion to an unknown group of dogs.  Yelling at the dogs or trying to shoo them should be avoided.   In the incident under discussion, not much is known about the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident involving Ms. Garcia. For example, we do not know how she acted when she first encountered the dogs. Did she engage in any behavior that may have facilitated or provoked this attack?
  • As a proactive measure, immediately report to animal control any pack of dogs (or for that matter any individual dog) that regularly roam free in public areas.  If you know the owner of the dogs, complain, take photographs for evidence, and follow-up with complaints to the police and local animal control.  Do not feed a pack of dogs.
  • Fifth, anyone who is alone and encounters a loose pack of dogs should be concerned for their safety. The situation is too unpredictable, partcularly if the dogs are large or if they are a pit bull type or mastiff type dog.  Slowly walk away, never run, and if the dogs approach to investigate, remain motionless.  Avoid eye contact.  If one of the dogs begins to attack and you fall to the ground cover your neck and face.  Collapse into a ball.  This is your best defense. Rapid blood loss through punctures to the jugular vein or carotid artery are the usual cause of most fatal dog attacks.  Dogs kill approximately 30 people, mostly elderly and the young, annually in the United States.  Read more about dog bite safety in other sections of this website.