Nancy Matthews was walking with her two children one day in her San Diego neighborhood when she was viciously attacked by two boxers. These types of stories used to be a rare occurrence, but now we seem to hear about attacks more frequently. In fact, every 40 seconds, someone in the United States seeks medical attention for a dog bite. Unfortunately, the death rates of dog attacks are on the rise.
In an average year, over 4.7 million people get bit by dogs and 800,000 people are sent to an emergency room with more severe bites. Most of the attacks are in the facial/head area
and regrettably, most are children. Kids represent over 60% of all dog bites, and sadly, most deaths occur with kids. Emergency room injuries due to dog bites are ranked second for children under 15. Only sport injuries are greater. Education is crucial to prevent these types of tragedies in the future. Let’s look at some steps to prevent aggressive behavior in dogs, tips for our children, and some steps what to do if you are the victim of a dog bite.
California adheres to a no fault state. Therefore if your dog bites another, you are strictly liable and most persons need and will obtain a lawyer to address their claims. However, such consequences can be prevented.
Even though any dog can theoretically bite at any time, there are dogs that seem to predisposed to biting in certain circumstances. Pit Bull Terriers, Rotweilers, German Shepards, Huskies, Doberman Pinschers and Chow Chows, in this descending order; have been responsible for the majority of children’s bites.
In a recent study of why dogs bite children, by far the most common reason was territorial in nature or they felt their food or toys where under threat. In addition, dogs feel anxiety when a new person is near them and they can experience pain from an unknown medical condition. Most dogs that involved with vicious attack have never bitten before.
Teaching our children safety techniques when they are around dogs is most important. Since 70% of most dog attacks happen on the dog owner’s property, your child will most likely come across dogs while walking to school or playing with their friends. So what do we tell our children about dog safety? Here are some tips from the American Academy of Family Physicians:
· Don’t go near strange dogs.
· Never bother a dog that is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.
· Tell an adult about any stray dogs · Always have an adult with you when you play with a dog.
· Never tease a dog.
· Never pet a dog without first letting it smell you.
If a dog approaches your children tell them not to run or scream. Remain motionless and don’t make eye contact. If they fall or are knocked down, they should remain motionless and act like a log.
If you or your children are bitten by a dog, follow these safety guidelines developed by doggone safe, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to dog bite prevention.
First, obtain medical attention immediately. Instruct others in the area to remain still or get out of the area. Two, report the bite to your local health department. It is essential to find out whether the dog has had proper vaccinations. If the bite was severe, report the dog to your local animal service officer. Third, report the bite to the police.
Before you buy a dog, consult with professionals on which breeds are appropriate for your family’s living situation. For further educational materials on preventing dog bites, reports of breeds that are involved most frequently with fatalities, and other canine resources, visit www.cdc.gov.
You may be wondering what happened to Nancy from the start of this story? Well, now she is physically fine after being hospitalized for six days. She was left with scars all over her body-she is one of the lucky ones, she is alive. Sadly, though, this attack has left her psychologically scarred from her passion in life-being a veterinarian.