Another tragic dog bite incident has resulted in the death of a three-week-old baby in Quebec.  The baby’s mother (17) and grandmother (37) left the child alone in the house, strapped to her car seat on a chair, while they went outside for a smoke.  There were also two Huskies loose in the house at the time.  Although the women were only a few meters from the open door, and came back inside when they heard noise, by the time they reached the baby it was already too late.  The paramedics found the baby "covered in deep bite marks and scratched.

It is unclear to whom the dogs belonged, as the mother and father of the baby were sharing the house with two other people.  The baby’s father (who was not home at the time of the attack) said that the dogs had been around ever since the baby was born and had never posed a problem.  The dogs were not normally aggressive and "when strangers came to the door, they didn’t even bark."  He said "there was no sign that this could happen."

Dog bites are always bad, but in the case of small children in particular they can even be fatal.  According to Statistics Canada, since 1990 there have been 28 fatal dog attacks in Canada, and 85% of those killed were children under the age of 12.

Dog bites often occur when people don’t know how to behave around a dog, and dogs may bite out of aggression, fear, or rough play.  A three-week-old baby strapped to a car seat would pose little threat to a Husky, and unfortunately we will likely never know what brought on the attack.  Parents and family members need to realize that a new baby is a big adjustment for everyone in the household – and that includes pets.  A dog that is normally "as good as gold" may react very differently to a small, wriggling, strange-smelling, crying baby that suddenly takes over part of the animal’s home "territory."  It is very important that pets and babies be introduced very carefully and slowly, and they should always be supervised.  Dr. Enid Styles, a veterinarian and behaviourist, makes some very important points:

...Styles said it is possible the animal might have been startled by the child’s crying or the baby might have been caught in the middle of a fight between the dogs.

In any case, a child should never be left unattended around dogs…

"Supervision needs to mean, really, that you are between your dog and your child," she said. "You can’t be just on the other side of the room."

Both Huskies have been seized by the Humane Society, and tests will be done to to confirm which of the animals was responsible for the attack and whether it was suffering from any problems, such as rabies (which presumably means the dog will be quarantined for 10 days).  It is likely that the dog responsible will be euthanized.

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