No parent ever wants to hear their child ask the harrowing question ‘Am I going to die?’. A normal day can instantly turn into a nightmare if a dog attacks your child. One 13-year-old Missouri boy’s life changed in a matter of seconds after a neighbor’s dog attacked him while he was delivering cupcakes. Unprovoked, the dog broke loose from it’s chain and attacked the boy twice despite the owners trying to restrain it. Doctors revealed the dog had damaged tissue, skin, and muscle in the boy’s throat, arteries, and voice box during the attack. Though he is recovering well and is being supported by his family and community, he will face lifelong physical and emotional trauma from this dog attack.
How Often Do Dogs Attack Children?
According to the CDC, dogs attacking children is a greater problem than measles, whooping cough, and mumps combined. In fact, almost 50% of all dog bite attacks involve children between the ages of 5-14. This growing problem most commonly happens in familiar places such as the family’s neighborhood or at a friend’s home. In fact, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites every year in the United States and the Humane Society estimates that more than half of these dog bite victims are children.
While any breed of dog can bite, it’s important to note that smaller breeds such as Pomeranians and Dachshunds can still aggressively attack small children. While we recognize that some breeds are either more aggressive or more suited to harm when a bite occurs, it is important to note that any dog can bite.
Preventing a Dog From Attacking A Child
A dog attack can happen to anyone at any time, but parents can take a few steps to help protect their children from becoming a part of the growing statistics.
The CDC reported dog attacks typically occur in a familiar place, during everyday activities with many people in the area. 77% of the aggressive dogs belong to the family or a friend of the victim. Having conversations with your children on how to behave around these dogs should include rules such as:
- Always ask an adult if it’s okay to pet a dog.
- Let the dog sniff and come to you first.
- Never bother a dog while it is sleeping, eating, or with it’s puppies.
- Never take a toy away from a dog out of its mouth.
The most critical reason for a dog to attack a child is from a lack of supervision. Children are vulnerable to a dog attack without supervision for reasons such as:
- Younger children have a poor understanding of a dog’s behavioral language and are unable to recognize aggressive warnings.
- Children are less able to fend off dogs until help arrives.
- Dogs typically are less likely to attack a child in the presence of an adult.
Introducing A Dog To Your Family
Dogs can be wonderful companions and lifelong friends to families. Unfortunately, most children are bitten by their own family dog, so doing your part as a parent to safely introduce a dog to your family can help protect everyone and the dog from harm.
Taking the time to consult a professional breeder or veterinarian about the breed and history of a dog before introducing a new dog to your family can help you determine what dog will be best for your household. Once you have your dog, practice some of the following so that you can be a responsible dog owner:
- Neuter the dog and get the dog all immunizations.
- Train your dog to obey common house rules.
- Similarly teach your family common house rules for interacting with the dog, such as not bothering the dog while it eats.
- Socialize your dog slowly with supervised time with your children through gates or cages.
- Always use a leash when taking the dog outside of your home.
- Properly restrain your dog from leaving your property with fences, leashes, gates, or electric collars.
- If your dog ever displays threatened or uncomfortable behavior, remove it immediately from the presence of children or guests.
Children love to play with dogs, but even the friendliest or well-known dog can unexpectedly harm your child. While dog bites are unpredictable, parents can do their part in making them more preventable by responsibly supervising their children around dogs.
Contact Our Dog Bite Attorneys If A Dog Attacks Your Child
Southside Injury Attorneys have handled dog bite cases all over Georgia. We have a good understanding of the specific laws and limitations when helping dog bite victims recover from attacks and are equipped with the best idea of how to hold negligent dog owners responsible. If your child is attacked or bitten by someone else’s dog, immediately seek medical assistance and contact our experienced dog bite attorneys. We can help ease the financial burden on your family so you can focus on the healing of your child by recovering compensation for any scarring, physical disfigurements, scar revision, current and future medical costs, emotional distress, and psychological damage.
Call or contact the law office of Southside Injury Attorneys for experienced attorneys that can help when you’ve been injured. We have six convenient locations in McDonough, Stockbridge, Peachtree City, Jackson, Barnesville, and Griffin. We also serve clients all over the state of Georgia, including in Henry County, Clayton County, Fulton County, Fayette County, Douglas County, Butts County, Lamar county, Spalding County, and Coweta County.
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