I have a dog. She's a German Shepherd. She's about average size for a female German Shepherd, weighing in at around 72lbs or so, but she is still extremely aggressive, protective and selfish of what she thinks of as her territory and pack. She's big enough to make unwanted solicitors go away which is fine by me. It's highly unlikely she is anywhere near as dangerous as she thinks she is. But she still has a high prey drive and loves to chase smaller creatures. She becomes agitated when someone she does not know approaches me or other humans she's accepted as part of her pack. And though my dog is smart for a dog, the smartest dog is still downright dumb compared to a human. So, with all that said I never ever ever let my dog run free off leash outside of my fenced backyard. And since she's figured out how to open the gate, I still have to keep an eye on her if she's in the back yard. The world is full of dangers, whether it be other dogs, trigger happy police or other armed people "standing their ground", cars, kids, etc. For both my dog's safety and my own it's best if she's on the leash and I do all the thinking for both of us. Because otherwise if she's off leash and trying to figure out the world on her own, each of us could get into a lot of trouble. A dog, even a midsize animal like a Shepherd, can under certain circumstances be quite dangerous. Responsible dog owners know this and take steps to ensure everyone's safety. But irresponsible dog owners don't take the proper steps to do that, whether it be training, control of the animal, or even better making sure that they have the correct animal for their needs. This is what happened in Michigan recently.
You don't have to be licensed to purchase any sort of dog. You can be a responsible management consultant who keeps his dog on leash and obeys the relevant laws and codes. Or you can be an illegal immigrant couple who let their dogs run free off leash throughout the neighborhood scaring people, biting them and finally killing a person. Mr. Qualgiata and Mrs. Lucaj are now facing second degree murder charges because their two Cane Corso dogs killed a Livonia jogger while he was jogging past their home.The Metamora couple whose dogs killed a jogger last week are in the U.S. illegally and were facing imminent deportation at the time of the attack. Valbona Lucaj, 44, got into the country from Albania in January 1997 after bribing an immigration officer into granting her asylum, according to federal court filings. Her Italian husband, Sebastiano Quagliata, 45, arrived a month earlier as a tourist and never left. The two are potentially facing involuntary manslaughter charges after their Cane Corso dogs attacked and killed Craig Sytsma, 46, of Livonia on July 23 as he jogged past their home on a rural Metamora Township road. Lapeer County prosecutors are expected to announce a decision on criminal charges this week. It is unclear what, if any impact, their citizenship status will have on possible prosecution. The couple have been fighting deportation for years since immigration officials discovered that Lucaj had paid $3,000 to an immigration officer in New York to grant her asylum. That asylum was then granted to Quagliata because he was her spouse. LINK
Now there is plenty of blame to go around. If the federal government had been doing its job in a prompt and efficient manner these two lowlifes would have been kicked out of my country a long time ago. But also if the local and state agencies, ie. the prosecutors, had been doing their job the dogs would have been seized and destroyed and/or the couple would have been arrested before this final tragedy took place. I am actually less concerned with their immigration status than with a pattern of behavior that shows the couple simply didn't care what their dogs did. This fatal mauling was not the first time that the dogs had attacked humans. And in the neighborhood the couple was apparently well known for letting their dogs run free. If you don't give a dog something to do and a sense that you are the one in charge, the dog will make up its own job. And it may even start to think that it is in charge. This is a horrible thing to have happen. And with an animal which possesses the size and aggression of a Cane Corso it's akin to leaving a loaded gun out around a child. LINK
I don't jog as much as I used to because of knee issues. But I still go for pretty long walks with my dog in the subdivision or the woods/farmland which are behind it. Dogs being dogs there is plenty of barking and raised hackles when we encounter other dogs. But there's only been two occasions in the decade or so that I've had my dog that we've been attacked by other dogs. In one of those cases the other dog stopped short and ran when my dog went into full beast mode. In the other incident I applied my boot to a place on the other dog's anatomy where I thought it would do the most good. I had words with the owner in the second situation and did indeed file a complaint with the authorities. But neither of those two dogs which attacked us were Cane Corsos. If you are unarmed and are attacked by such animals there's not going to be too much that you can do. You are going to get bit. You may not survive.
So although I have a gooey soft heart for animals in general and canids in particular it's critical that the Cane Corsos involved in this attack be destroyed. It's not their fault but all the same they have demonstrated that they are too dangerous to be allowed to live. The behavior patterns they've shown prove that they will continue to harass and attack passers-by. And as far as the owners, I think that second-degree murder charges are exactly the appropriate charges. If found guilty they could get up to life in prison. I am not at all bothered by that. I just wish that everyone, local, state and federal, had paid more attention to the situation before it reached this point. Having a dog is a responsibility. You must be in control of the animal at all times. If you can't do that and/or are deep down scared of the dog then don't get it.