Monday afternoon in Tarrant County a toddler was seriously injured when he was attacked by at least four dogsat his grandparent’s house.
The 18-month old had crawled through a pet door leading into the fenced area where his grandparents keep their 7 canines. He entered the pen and was attacked. He sustained injuries to his head and his cries got the attention of one of the neighbors. The concerned neighbor dialed 911.The boy was taken to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth for treatment where reports say he is still in serious condition.
The child’s grandmother arrived later on at the scene and assaulted one of her neighbors in front of the police. She was arrested for assault, but no formal charges have been made concerning the dog attack. There have been other neighborhood complaints about the dogs, but no actions were taken. Now, four of the dogs are in quarantine at Animal Control pending the investigation.
How Frequent Are Dog Attacks?
Dog attacks can be very serious and occur more frequently than you might imagine. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) devotes a week each year to the prevention of harmful, sometimes fatal, dog bites.
The CDC’s statistics can be harrowing:
- Each year, 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites; half of these are children.
- 386,000 dog bite victims require treatment in an emergency department.
- Approximately 16 of those treated will die.
- The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9 years, and the rate decreases as children age.
- Almost two thirds of injuries among children ages four years and younger are to the head or neck region.
- Injury rates in children are significantly higher for boys than for girls.
What Can I do to Prevent Dog Bites?
There are several ways to begin dog bite prevention. If you are a dog owner, it is imperative that you act as a responsible member of your community by taking care of your dog. Spay or neuter your pet as this decreases aggression in dogs.
Children are the most at risk when it comes to dog bites. Here are some recommended safety tips from the CDC to teach your children about dogs:
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Do not run from a dog and scream.
- Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a tree”) when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- If knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still (e.g., “be still like a log”).
- Do not play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
- Immediately report stray dogs or dogs displaying unusual behavior to an adult.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.
- Do not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
- If bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.
For anyone who has been bitten by an animal, please remember the risks of rabies and seek medical treatment.
If you are a veterinarian or a concerned community leader, consider looking at community-wide models to prevent dog bites like the one created by American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions.
When it comes to the law, these type of claims are usually considered “premise liability.” For more information on premises liability law and dog bite lawsuits, call us at 1-877-405-4313.