What started as an amazing dog rescue ended with a news anchor being rushed into surgery following a dog bite on live television.
The 85-pound Argentine Mastiff chased a coyote onto a frozen Colorado reservoir on Tuesday and both fell through the ice. The coyote drowned, but a firefighter was able to pull the dog, Max, out of the water.
The following morning, the firefighter, the dog and the dog’s owner appeared on KUSA-TV’s morning program in Denver. NewsBlues reports that the dog spent 45 minutes in the station’s newsroom getting petted by staffers before the morning show appearance, but that during the interview, when female news anchor Kyle Dyer bent over to kiss the dog, he bared his teeth and bit her in the lower lip.
The incident, caught on camera during the live broadcast, happened in a fraction of a second and the injured anchor immediately fell back out of the range of the camera while the director cut to a co-anchor at a different part of the set.
The firefighter tended to her until paramedics could be called, and Dyer underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the damage.
The dog’s owner was cited for failure to have his dog on a leash and failure to have a vaccinated dog, though he insists Max’s vaccinations are up to date.
Max is now in quarantine at a local animal shelter as a precautionary measure.
Viewers were quick to blame the anchor for the fiasco, accusing her of clearly getting too close to a dog in a manner that could be perceived by the dog as a threatening measure. The dog, these angry viewers complain, was just defending itself.
Others aren’t so sure that it is all the anchor’s fault; the breed has been banned in at least one nearby neighborhood because of its “violent nature.”
What I find most curious is the way the station dealt with the matter.
NewsBlues reports that the station’s News Vice President spent a large portion of Wednesday on the telephone, trying to talk news outlets to remove the dog bite video from the internet, and that KUSA scrubbed the video from its own site.
Of course, once it’s online, it’s online. No matter how hard KUSA fought to get the clip off of YouTube, citing copyright claims (which is within their legal rights), a Google search quickly reveals that there are plenty of places where the clip can be viewed.
One might find it admirable that KUSA  was willing to give up the page views a front-page posting of the video clip would have likely provided; but the video was hardly graphic: the bite happened so quickly and the wounded anchor was out of the frame so quickly that one couldn’t even see blood.
Had anyone other than the station’s anchor been bitten by the dog, there is no doubt in my mind that it would have been all over the station’s website and that the clip would have been repeated in every newscast. Long after the story itself had died, an incalculable number of follow-up stories, warranted or not, would have included that brief clip.
I can only wonder whether the inside story of what happened will surface by the end of the month, since we are in a ratings period.
Depending on the length of her recovery, the station could also hold the piece until the all-important May ratings period.
Would you be surprised if they did?