There is something so overwhelmingly obvious and so basic to this issue and I somehow thinkthat some folks in a combination of arrogance and ignorance overlook when they talk about "risking a life for a dog"
Folks, take it from me I have been around a lot of years, and I have lived near the ocean long enough to actually watch a fishingboat go down in the mouth of the river and lose all 4 hands on board within yards of land. The bar was just to rough. I have been nearby when 2 tourists were washed off the rocks. we lose folks almost evey year, so I say this from real experience.
99% of the time people are oblivious to the fact they are 'RISKING THEIR LIVES". It isn't an "I think I will risk my life to do "X" type of decision. I tried to imply this but apparently some folks are so set on reassuring themselves that it couldn't happen to them because they are smarter, and they can't grasp it.
The real cause of this tragedy was the not the parents tesching a kid about animals being human, it was their failure to UNDERSTAND AND TEACH THE KID TO RESPECT THE OCEAN AND THEY DIDN'T RESPECT IT EITHER
Like I said , we lose people evey year without an animal to blame. We have lost tourists who climbed out on a jetty right past the sign that said "Do Not Climb Past This Point" No dogs involved. we lose tourists because they climb of large driftwood pieces in or near the water, despite the fact that there are signs at nearly every accesible beach that warn them not to.
Respect for the ocean is drilled into the heads of kids here since their first beach trip. It is ALWAYS Tourists off the beach and overconfident boaters, amature or pro, who have become complacent. The incident I mentioned was a new Captain at the helm who made every mistake he could have.
To blame this on the feelings for the dog is like saying that someone who was killed in an accident, running a stop sign on a quick trip to the store for a carton of milk "Risked and lost their life because of their love of milk" No, they didn't respect the rules of the road.
lifetime locals here in our area are never the names in the paper, They have been raised with respect for the ocan, not having it makes it dangerous to go to the beach.