Preventing dog attacks in wake of woman’s death and two vicious attacks in Utah

Nov 8, 2023, 10:10 AM

SPANISH FORK — After two vicious dog attacks in two Utah cities just days apart, including one where the victim died, a dog trainer is giving some tips on how to handle aggressive dogs, whether someone is a dog owner or someone is being attacked by an aggressive dog.

At his dog training business Innovative K9 Academy Tuesday, David Broderick worked on training with his 11-year-old Belgian Malinois, Idole. While she’s quick at his command to launch a bite into an arm sleeve, she’s also fast to listen to his verbal cue to stop.

As someone who trains police, protective, sport and military dogs, Broderick knows exactly how to unlock controlled aggression.

He also specializes in teaching owners how to keep aggression and reactivity in check.

“It typically comes from a number of things, but usually from being a puppy and not getting the correct direction and training when they’re very young,” he said, of how a dog can become reactive and aggressive in the first place.

Broderick heard about the two attacks less than a week apart in northern Utah.

One in Taylorsville last week is now responsible for a woman’s death involving seven dogs attacking her in her own backyard. According to Taylorsville police, the dogs belonged to the woman’s son, who also lived at the home.

An adult female and adult male pit bull attacked, along with five puppies that were older than 4 months old. The adult female was shot in the yard to stop the attack, while the other six dogs were put down afterward because they had been involved in a fatal attack.

Taylorsville police said the woman died in the hospital from injuries to her face, hands and leg. Doctors had amputated one of her legs in an attempt to save her life.

On Sunday, three Clinton residents reported being attacked by three loose dogs right outside their homes. Those dogs were also euthanized, one by a man trying to stop the dog from attacking his neighbor, and the others by animal control.

Why dogs attack

The number of dogs, Broderick said, likely escalated the situations and brought out the aggression.

“They were in pack mentality, and dogs always feed off of each other in those situations,” Broderick said.

He explained that one dog alone will act differently if, say, someone knocks on the door. But when it becomes two, three, or five or more dogs, the situation can turn.

“Not only can they start to show aggression towards that person at the door, but they can also show aggression towards each other, attacking each other from the barking, whining, whatever,” he said.

For dog owners, Broderick said training can change those behaviors. He recommended dog owners start by training them not to pull on a leash. He said allowing a dog to pull on a leash creates increasing excitement and pulling them back can frustrate them. It can spiral into negative behaviors from the dog, he indicated.

He tells his clients to avoid harnesses for the same reason because it doesn’t encourage proper leash training.

“The more they pull… that reactivity starts to come out and then they do start to show aggression towards dogs, especially, and then humans,” he said.

Broderick also said dog owners shouldn’t restrict or restrain dogs from their toys, because that can also build energy.

Don’t run from an attack

For anyone who sees a dog charging at them, Broderick said to stand your ground and yell at the dog.

“The worst thing we can do is turn our back to the dog and run away or anything like that,” Broderick said.
When going on a walk in the neighborhood, especially with your own dogs, he suggests carrying a walking stick or something that will protect you if a dog charges or attacks.

“A lot of people use bear spray or pepper spray,” he said. “I have a number of friends that actually take leashes and they put a carabiner on the end, and they make a noise with it by whipping it in a circle.”

If a dog actually attacks, Broderick said keep your own dogs behind you and if intimidation doesn’t work, try to use its collar to choke it out. While yelling while being attacked may get some dogs to stop, he said it’ll make other dogs attack more intensely.

As a dog trainer, he hears about attacks weekly.

“Usually, it’s a bite. They’re typically doing it out of fear,” he said.

Though, he doesn’t hear about attacks like the one in Taylorsville where someone loses their life.

“That’s very rare,” he said. “So, definitely a very unfortunate situation.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Kelby Diston hydrates while working on the I-215 Renewed reconstruction project in Salt Lake City o...

Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio

Triple-digit temperatures expected along the Wasatch Front

The recent heat wave is about to hit its peak, as the Wasatch Front reaches triple-digit temperatures Wednesday.

28 minutes ago

(Nevada Highway Patrol)...

Eliza Pace

Woman killed in Nevada crash on US Highway 6

A woman was killed in a crash on U.S. Highway 6 at mile marker 72 on June 5. 

37 minutes ago

The 2002 Olympic cauldron at the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldron Plaza at the University of Utah in...

Lisa Riley Roche

Utah is now one vote away from hosting the 2034 Winter Games. Here’s what just happened

Utah’s bid to host the 2034 Winter Games is headed to a final vote by the International Olympic Committee in July.

1 hour ago

The old Sears location in Salt Lake City is pictured Tuesday. Intermountain Health unveiled new ren...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Intermountain Health unveils what it wants to do with old Salt Lake Sears block

Intermountain Health unveiled new renderings of its planned "urban hospital" during a Salt Lake City meeting on Tuesday, but it also faced pushback.

2 hours ago

Salt Lake City police releaseD a photo of a man wanted in connection to the June 3 theft of a Lambo...

Josh Ellis

Police ask for public’s help to locate suspect who stole $230K Lamborghini from SLC airport

Police are asking for help to locate a man who allegedly stole a Lamborghini from the Salt Lake airport this month.

4 hours ago


Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox

KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking claims from GOP candidates for Utah governor

The KSL Investigators fact-check a range of statements from Utah's GOP gubernatorial candidates.

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Preventing dog attacks in wake of woman’s death and two vicious attacks in Utah