The video footage is graphic and shocking, but we must pay heed to the message.
In South Africa a young girl in a mall was grabbed around the waist by a dog supposedly rehabilitated by a man claiming to give a 100% success rate in dog rehabilitation. James Lech describes himself as a ‘shaman in the world of dogs’ on his website, and is supposedly known as ‘Africa’s Dog Whisperer’.
1) A dog with an aggression history is never 100% cured and no owner should be given that expectation.
2) A mall is a public place and no dog should be left unmonitored, no matter what their history. I and my colleagues will tell you that ‘He’s never done that before’ is a frequent thing we hear. In the video, the dog clearly was eyeing the child for quite some time. We cannot hear the sound but perhaps the child was noisy or simply moving about quickly. If the dog’s body signals are clear enough for us to spot on CCTV then the owner has no defence in missing them.
3) Children do not get bitten just because they tease dogs. In this case, the child passes the dog NORMALLY. Yes, she is skipping about, she may have been being noisy, but she is a child! Children do struggle to read danger signs in dogs but nevertheless, she was in a public place and simply moving through a gap between tables.
Lech himself stated that the dog bit because the child trod on the dog – not so, and this is clearly supported from the footage on the video.
Let us learn from this person’s fundamental mistakes. Lech says he has never learned formally about dogs, which leads me to think that he doesn’t know half the story, and this video provides damning evidence of that. Good at self-marketing he may be, but as we can see, the business of dogs is far more serious than a bombastic faith healer can survive.