Dog bites are nothing new. They are extremely common and it’s not unusual to see reports of serious, even fatal, dog bites, especially in children. There have been a few reports lately that are worth mentioning.
A Pennsylvania boy was seriously bitten on the face after being invited to pet a dog at a school function. The fact that the bite occurred during what we would consider an appropriate interaction, after being invited to pet the dog by the handler and under supervision, is notable. What’s more concerning is the dog was at a booth set up by an organization that trains service dogs. Let’s hope this group has reviewed their temperament testing and training protocols (the lawsuit might help spur that on).
A Custom’s dog bit a young girl at Dulles Airport in Washington DC. The dog was in a training exercise in the baggage claim area and bit the child in the abdomen, requiring 20 stitches. This is very surprising for a dog that would presumably have been very highly trained and evaluated. Again, a review of their training program, the circumstances of the bite, the dog’s history (whether it’s shown any tendency to aggression before) and the handler’s actions need careful review.
A 10-day old baby was bitten and killed by the family’s husky. Little information is available but this reinforces the need to take care when introducing a new baby (or dog) into the household. This would have been an unprovoked attack, considering the age of the baby and the fact that it wouldn’t have been moving around and potentially disturbing the dog.
A Hamilton, Ohio woman was attacked by a dog while locking her car, receiving injuries to her ankle and thigh. Neighbours needed to help get the dog off, indicating this was a real attack, not a nip from a startled dog. The dog is still at large.
Everyone needs to be aware of the risks of dog bites. That includes dog owners and people who never plan on having a dog, because you never know when you’ll be in a situation where a bite is possible. Dog owners need to recognize the potential severity of bites, and ensure that their dogs are properly trained and controlled. Parents, in particular, need to ensure that their kids know how to act around dogs (whether or not they own a dog) and make sure they supervise their children closely when around dogs.
"Be A Tree" is part of the Doggone Safe Bite Prevention Program that teaches kids (primarily elementary school level) how to reduce the risk of being bitten by dogs in everyday situations. For more information, go to their website www.doggonesafe.com, or the Doggone Crazy website, www.doggonecrazy.ca.