Pepper spray poses threat to humans

Posted: Sunday, March 07, 2010

To the person who felt he was in mortal danger of attack from a 5-month-old puppy, I just wanted to say that my friends' puppy is OK after a trip to the vet. And so are the two people that were walking the puppy, who were also effected by the spray.

Pepper spray is a good deterrent when faced with a situation you need to escape from the attacker with haste (such as a mugger or bear). Pepper spray (bear spray) affects the mucous membranes, causing capillaries in the eyes to instantaneously dilate to the point of temporary blindness. Tissues lining the bronchial tube also swell, making it difficult for the attacker to get extra oxygen. A blast of pepper spray affects the eyes, throat, nose and lungs, with the effects lasting up to 90 minutes. Your escape from potential harm is a given.

But what if your presumed attacker is a 5-month-old yellow lab? The dog walkers are 10 feet ahead, and the pup is just checking out her surroundings. When the assailant, who was running by, was confronted as to why, he did not respond and continued running.

My friends' dog was assaulted by pepper spray on Auke Lake trail at about 3 p.m. Sunday. She had red eyes and foam in her mouth instantaneously. Now I am hearing that there are incidents like this happening around other trails in the Juneau area. Yes, I am concerned about the dogs, but there is more to this than our dogs. What about the humans that are victims of the overspray?

As a former police officer, I had to go through a training class in which you had to be sprayed with pepper spray, so I know what it is like. Law enforcement pepper spray is only half the dose of bear spray. What if there were children in the immediate area? So be aware of this situation when you take your dog for a walk and keep your pet, child and yourself safe.

Richard Carter


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