A man wearing a silly little hat and a trench coat belted tightly around his waist enters a quaint old European mountain hotel where a clerk with bushy grey hair, eyebrows and mustache sits behind the desk puffing on a long-stemmed pipe. Near the clerk, a small furry black dog lies peacefully on the floor. The man in the trench coat looks at the cute little dog and turns to the clerk, saying “Does your dog bite?” The clerk says no, and the man in the trench coat reaches down to pet the dog only to leap back as the dog lunges at him with no warning, snarling fiercely. Snatching his hand away, baffled, he says to the clerk, ”I thought you said your dog does not bite.” The clerk says “That’s not my dog.” The Inspector had asked the wrong question.
I didn’t know that
The National Canine Research Association of America says an estimated 4.5 million dog bites happen each year in the United States. That means you have a 1 in 73 chance of being bitten by a dog. DogsBite.org says in the USA alone, 1,000 people a day require emergency treatment for serious dog bite injuries.
- Uncastrated dogs are responsible for 70% of dog bites.
- Only 7% of U.S. dogs are pit bulls, yet they’re responsible for three-fourths of dog attack fatalities.
- If you live with two or more dogs, you’re five times as likely to be attacked.
- Insurers pay out nearly $1 billion a year in dog-bite claims.
- 90% of children injured by dogs knew the animal.
Man Bites Dog
The story is a legendary part of newsroom history and a staple of Journalism 101 classes. It has been ascribed to nearly a dozen different people. Because there are so many different versions, I’ll summarize the idea.
A wise editor imparted this simple wisdom to a young reporter: DOG BITES MAN is not news, but MAN BITES DOG is. His lesson was that rare things are more worthy of interest than things that happen every day.
Man Bites Dog. No, Really.
That’s how the Washington Post headlined Sarah Kaplan’s story.
David Etzel, 37, faces a year or more in jail after jurors found him guilty of animal cruelty. His crime was one usually not heard of outside intro journalism classes: He bit a dog. According to the Palm Beach Post, 6-foot-8, 375-pound Etzel was convicted of biting and squeezing his mother’s tiny Shih Tzu so hard that one of the dog’s eyes popped out. According to prosecutors, the Lake Worth, Florida man was teasing the dog while drinking, prompting the dog, Cujo, to bite him. The jury took less than half an hour to convict him.
This from dot-cotton.co.uk: