The attack on a young boy in Wexford this week is clearly a tragedy, and a dreadful incident.
Yet our society’s approach to tackling this particular type of crisis seems inept and illogical
If this was a trauma in other walks of life (eg aviation) there would be a forensic analysis of precisely what went wrong, followed by a detailed report with specific recommendations
See Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed for more on this:
Instead, the first step taken by the police is always to destroy the evidence (i.e. to euthanase the dog)
We are left knowing nothing about what it was about this particular animal, and the specific circumstances, that led to this terrible outcome
Meanwhile the media report loudly on the incident itself, vaguely talking about “dangerous breeds” (which contribute nothing to the tragedy other than that they are large and muscular)
We learn nothing, and nothing changes
There will be repeated episodes like this every six months or so
A better approach would be to impound the living dog, engage the animal with forensic behavioural scientists, and to discover what, precisely, went wrong
The resulting conclusions could be widely published with science-based recommendations
The incidence of dog bite fatalities would then fall as people learned how to avoid the same mistakes
Listen to the podcast below to hear more on this.