Dogs, everyone would agree, are man's best friends. It's man you've got to worry about.
That thought was brought vividly to mind yesterday, when Marjorie Knoller was convicted of murder, and her husband, Robert, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
The details of the case were bad enough: Knoller was walking two huge Presa Canerio dogs in the hallway of her San Francisco apartment building when her neighbor, 33-year-old Diane Whipple, returned home from grocery shopping. The dogs attacked, and literally went for Whipple's throat. She died screaming, outside her apartment door.
It's not just a big city problem. It almost happened here, on Main Street, just last year, when a Payson woman taking her own dog for a walk was viciously attacked and bitten by a trio of canines who had escaped from their owner's yard.
If that doesn't make you nervous, this bit of information might: About 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and children are the most common victims of severe dog bites.
Both the woman who was mauled on Main Street and her rescuer agreed if she had been a child, she would not have survived the attack which unfolded about two blocks from Julia Randall Elementary.
While the details of Diane Whipple's death were shocking, what truly stunned the jurors according to post-trial interviews was Knoller's failure to project any detectable remorse during the course of the trial.
Clearly, this woman believed she should not be held accountable for the actions of her pets ... and there you have the answer to the question, "How in the world could something like this happen?"
Responsible dog ownership is the key, the only key, to dog bite prevention. If dog owners refuse to accept their responsibility before an attack, then it is fitting that they be held fully accountable afterward.
Up to and including convictions for murder.