Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Are choke collars really dangerous?

Dispatcher: “911. This line is recorded. What is your emergency?”

Caller: “My dog!…[screams]…their collars!… [screams]…they’re stuck!…help!!…he’s choking!!!"

Are choke collars really dangerous? The answer is in this real life 911 call above.

Here’s the summarization:

Two neighboring dogs that frequently frolic together were engaging in play in one of their backyards, when suddenly one dog’s lower jaw became entangled in the other dog’s choke collar. With each attempt they both made to pull from each other, the more entangled they became - and the more unyielding the choke collar. By the time the owners discovered the chaos out back, the choke collar was already so taut, that the dog wearing it was nearly lifeless, while the other dog was still flailing frantically to be freed, thus tightening [the noose] even more.

The 911 Call was made simultaneous to these owner’s attempts to separate the dogs. The Fire Department was dispatched with a bolt cutter, but it was too late. The dog had suffocated before the fire truck even left the station.

Some important points:

Even if the bolt cutter been available at the immediate moment that the dogs became entangled, it still would have been too large to even fit through the collars of the dog’s necks, rendering the bolt cutter, useless.

Even with a smaller size bolt cutter present, it still would have been nearly impossible to safely manage to cut the choke collar off while the dogs were thrashing relentlessly.

The time from the initial entanglement to the death of the dog was minutes.

Both dog owners witnessed this, and neither could do anything to save the dog.

It’s now six months later, the place where this incident occurred remains a constant, solemn reminder of this horrific, preventable scene. The neighbor dog, still peers out the window looking for his friend, who is no longer there, under the tree. He may even be clueless as to why his pal is missing.

If the above 911 Call and accompanying story doesn’t convince you to refrain from using choke collars, I don’t know what will persuade you. This incident was very real – and very unforgettable to everyone involved in it.

Choke collars represent a colossal threat to dogs. Aside from incidents like the above 911 Call, choke collars can become caught on an assortment of inanimate objects as well, such as fences, furniture, or even shrubbery - causing paralleling results.

Commonly recorded injuries from choke collars, by veterinarians include: Injured ocular vessels, Tracheal and oesophageal damage, Severely sprained necks, Cases of fainting, Transient foreleg paralysis, Recurrent laryngeal nerve paralysis, Hind leg ataxia.

Injuries like the one described in this 911 Call, never reach the veterinarian, except to make ‘arrangements’ following the dog's death.

Choke collars were designed to stop dogs from pulling on leashes or to cease another inappropriate behavior such as barking or jumping, through the application of pain. The dog stops pulling, barking or jumping for only one reason - because it hurts – not because he understands that his behavior is inappropriate. The concept behind the choke collar innovation is terribly flawed – and it is cruel!

There are collars, that, combined with reward-based training and a learned understanding of the difference between appropriate/non-appropriate behaviors can achieve more effective results - without hurting dogs.


Anonymous said...

This is Ridiculous. The owner should have known that you are only supposed to use the pinch collars when walking or training your dog, not when they are playing. With proper use, the pinch collar is a great tool for almost any dog.

Anonymous said...

I think there are more effective and humane ways to train than choked or pinch collars, but that's a whole 'nother show.

I don't why anonymous thinks it's a "pinch collar" in this case. My reading is that it was a choke chain collar. Choke collars and pinch collars are different but both are dangerous when left on a dog unattended. See below.

Quote from the Minneapolis AC link above: "Unfortunately, we often see dogs that have died from jumping over an obstacle or catching the choke chain or pinch collar. These animals struggle until they suffocate and die."