Can dogs be psychotic murderers?

A woman is severely injured and her husband dead after attempting to break up a fight among their pets.

Bullhead City former mayor, husband attacked by dogs.

Former Mayor Diane Vick and her husband, Tom, tried to intervene after one of their six dogs, a boxer, attacked another, a cocker spaniel, Mayor Jack Hakim said. They were flown to a hospital in Las Vegas.

The boxer attacked the couple.

This does not appear to be normal behavior but not enough information is given in the story. Can animals have psychoses? Yes. That’s a possibility. If they have brains, they can have brains that malfunction. It may be genetic or acquired due to conditions in life or it could be a tumor that causes erratic behavior.

The animals are being held at a shelter but I suspect the boxer will be put down. Ideally, it would be good to determine why this happened. But there seems little doubt the animal is dangerous.

Perhaps some vets can chime in. Any additional ideas on this tragic story?

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  4 comments for “Can dogs be psychotic murderers?

  1. Andrew
    December 30, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    It’s actually possible the dog won’t be put down unless the owner consents. It’s interesting to note that laws about dangerous dogs vary widely from state to state. My sister was attacked by her landlord’s two dogs in VA and we were shocked to find out that he has no liability even though they’d attacked several people before.

  2. December 31, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Dogs pick up a lot of behavioral cues from people.

  3. Chris Howard
    January 1, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Can they have a psychotic break? Yes. Can they be psychopathic? I doubt it.

    First guess, rabies.

    Boxers (I have three, so I may be biased) are very sweet (for lack of a better word) dogs.

    But, as mentioned above, environment is everything. Breed, not so much. You can socialize any dog to be docile, or aggressive.

  4. Candace
    January 15, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    While dogs can have a psychotic break due to their environment, I believe that they can have one because something could go wrong with their brains when they get older. Myself and my entire family was attacked almost to death by a champion bred boxer who was 7 years old who we had always called a “gentle giant” because that was just his temperament. Animal control picked him up because he was a danger to everyone in the house and upon watching him for a week, it was decided he didn’t have rabies. While I think it’s extremely ignorant to say every dog is going to attack me from now, it is also extremely naive to say that boxers who are known to be “great family dogs” or any other breed would never attack their own family members just because they pet them. I think animal lovers need to be a lot less judgmental when it comes to dog attacks saying surely their environment was bad. Animals are exactly that, animals, any animal is capable of attacking someone.

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