The Child is More Important Than the Dog

September 21 2007, 1:43 PM

A Northglenn man is upset that the city is going to put down his two Rottweilers after his 3-year-old grandson was attacked by one of the dogs. I'd be upset if the city didn't take his dogs. As The Denver Post reports:

A day after his 3-year- old grandson was attacked by one of his Rottweilers, Richard Portugal said the city is trying to tear his family apart by killing both dogs. Police and animal control officers arrived at Portugal's home Thursday afternoon with a court order to take possession of his second dog, a 4-year-old Rottweiler named Haley. On Wednesday, Portugal's 135-pound Rottweiler, Zeus, bit and thrashed his grandson, Carlos Aragon, before Portugal and his wife wrested the boy from the dog's grip. The child was rushed to Children's Hospital. His condition is now listed as fair, and he was released from the intensive care unit Thursday afternoon... ...The court order handed to the Portugals states that both dogs are suspected of attacking the boy, even though Portugal says it was only Zeus that was involved. "Obviously, my primary concern is my grandson, but what happened was an unfortunate accident and the dog never intended to hurt Carlos," Portugal said. "That dog is a friendly dog, and he wasn't intending to kill Carlos. But he's a big dog, and anything under 3 feet tall to him is like a toy to him."

That last quote is exactly why the city needs to take these dogs. Portugal says that "anything under 3 feet tall is like a toy" to his Rottweiler. Portugal readily admits here that having a big aggressive dog and a little kid in the same room probably isn't the greatest idea in the world. I understand that Portugal loves his dogs and thinks they would never intentionally hurt his grandson. Maybe he's right, but "intentions" don't matter here. Whether it was intentional or not, the situation in Portugal's home is dangerous for a small child. Remember when Siegfried (or was it Roy?) was mauled by a trained tiger in their Las Vegas magic show? They both said that the tiger didn't mean to hurt the magician, but when you put a tiger and a person in a room together, it should be no surprise if things don't go well. Likewise, when you put an aggressive large dog and a toddler in a room together, you're risking the chance that a terrible accident may occur. Portugal is just inviting disaster by continuing with this combination of big aggressive dog and small child, and what if it happens again? What if the child gets killed next time? It might still be an accident, but it was a preventable accident, and if Portugal isn't going to take the precautions to protect his grandson, then the city should absolutely step in. To me, it's no different than removing a child from a dangerous home that is filled with drugs or plagued with domestic violence issues; if the parents or guardians of a child won't do everything in their power to protect that child, then outside forces should take over. I have a one-year-old daughter and two dogs. My dogs are small, but if either of them ever attacked her and caused harm, the dogs would be gone. Period. End of story. I love my dogs, but I love my daughter more, and I would never risk her life to protect a dog. I wouldn't want my dogs to be killed, but I wouldn't have them in my house anymore; I'd give my dogs to a friend or family member, and that's what Portugal should have done himself. Portugal says that the city is "trying to tear his family apart" by removing the dogs from his house. That's a little overdramatic if you ask me, but I'd rather see his family torn apart than his grandson.

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