Las Vegas Sun

July 29, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Dogs, children can mix with training

Regarding the sad story of the family dog Onion in Henderson that killed the 1-year-old baby: My fear is that people with babies or small children will start to turn in their dogs for fear that this may happen to them.

I’m the owner of three big dogs adopted from various rescue groups and the Animal Foundation, and I raised a child around big dogs. I think this terrible incident was due to lack of knowledge of dog behavior. Dogs are pack animals. They see any new member to their pack as a possible challenge to their pecking order. The human owner, in this case, was the alpha leader and needed to establish boundaries for the dog from the start.

A child shouldn’t be allowed to crawl on top of a dog. The dog isn’t a coffee table or play toy. It could’ve had hip dysplasia and was in pain or been sleeping and startled, or maybe it considered the child getting on top of it as a challenge.

To people who are afraid to have a dog around a baby, learn from this incident and know that there are wonderful books and resources online giving great insights to dog behavior. Better yet, get your dog trained and learn how to live peacefully with your canine family members without the fear of the terrible tragedy like what happened in Henderson.

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  1. This letter and this comment are good advice, showing that small children and pets can have a continual, happy life together.

    Onion had never harmed the baby before this. He deserves the benefit of the doubt that this was an accident. I cannot imagine that anyone would decide to kill Onion when there is an option of a safe sanctuary for him. The Grandmother wants Onion's life spared.