Lehigh Valley

Deadly dog attack prompts warning to other dog owners

Body language speaks volumes, trainers say

Deadly dog attack prompts warning to...

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A neighborhood in Lehigh County was still reeling Friday following a deadly dog attack. The dog killed its owner in Upper Macungie Township on Thursday.

On Friday, a man told 69 News that his grandson was bitten in the face by the same dog several years ago. Between 20 and 30 people die from dog attacks each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dog trainers said your dog's body language speaks volumes about its temperament.

"Standing over her, almost appeared like he was guarding her," David Rachman, a neighbor and chief of the Slatington Police Department, said as he described the scene he encountered Thursday.

A boxer mix attacked its owner, Lisa Green, on the deck of her home.

"Started to lick the blood off her head," Rachman said. "Then nuzzled his nose, flipped her head up, grabbed her by the throat and then thrashed around."

That's when Rachman, standing below, shot the dog in the leg.

"Backed off, started yelping and sat down by her feet," he added.

But the damage was done. Green, 32, was killed. Neighbors said she'd had the 3-year-old dog for most of its life.

"I never saw the dog. I think I saw it twice since she's been her for several years," Rachman said.

At this time, it's not clear what led to the viscous attack.

Ali Brown, a 20-year dog trainer at Neffs, Lehigh County-based Great Companions, recommends all dogs get a temperament test. She said any one of three traits can lead to a dog mauling: a genetic issue, a behavioral issue created by its environment, or a medical condition like rabies, which, Brown said, is extremely rare in dogs.

"I can almost guarantee you it's not all of a sudden," she said.

Brown said the body language cues can be subtle, but watch for constant staring, forward-leaning posture, and freezing, when a dog just stops.

"You don't see it, don't read it. You're ignoring it that builds and the stress and tension builds and you have a big problem," Brown added.

She said most don't see or are able to read the the signs, and then the worst can happen in a split second. She said just because a dog attacks another dog that's not a precursor to attacking a human.

Officials are still waiting to see if the dog that killed Green ever had a rabies test, and if not, one will be done.


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