DOG BITES: Are Your Children Safe?

According to the American Humane Association (AHA) (2013), there is an estimated 4.5 million dog bites per year. Approximately 885,000 of those dog bites require medical attention. Similar to any injury, children and the elderly are more vulnerable to dog bites and attacks. In comparison to other age groups, fifty percent of dog attacks occur where children are under the age of twelve (American Humane Association, 2013). Seventy percent of fatalities related to dog bite attacks happened to children under ten years old.

Pit Bulls are notoriously profiled as the most aggressive and dangerous breed of dogs, and not without reason. According to many sources www.themost10.com (2013), www.dog-breeds-expert (2013), www.list25.com (2013), Pit Bulls are in the top five of nearly every list of the most “dangerous” or “aggressive” dog breeds. Pit Bulls are frequently in the first or second slot. Other breeds consistently included in these lists are as follows; Chow Chow, Rottweiler, Mastiffs, and Doberman Pinschers.

According to the American Society for Protection of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website (www.aspca.org,2014), Pit Bulls are classified as a mixture of the following breeds; American Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Bulldog. Pit Bulls tend to be more aggressive and dangerous than other breeds because of their heritage and uses to their human owners. Historically, they were first used in England as a “gripping dog” whose use was to hold down the large game their masters were attempting to hunt. Prior to Pit Bulls being used for hunting, they were owned by butchers to help maintain large herds of livestock. For these reasons, Pit Bulls’ genetic structure and instincts result in them being more innately aggressive than other breeds of dogs. In fact, according to www.dogsbite.org (2014), throughout a nine year period Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers are to blame for the seventy-four percent of total recorded fatal attacks. The amount of fatal attacks by Pit Bull, and Pit Bull mixes accounted for more than double the attacks by Rottweilers.

Due to the unpredictable nature of dogs, especially unfamiliar dogs, the AHA has created a general list of safety tips on how to avoid attacks, indicators that a dog might attack, and what to do if you are attacked.  The following is a list of suggestions from the American Humane Society website; (www.humanesociety.org)

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog, especially one that is confined behind a fence or in a car.
  • Do not pet a dog – even your own – without letting them sniff you first.
  • Do not disturb a dog while it is sleeping, eating, chewing a toy, or caring for puppies.
  • Be cautious around strange dogs; always assume that a dog who does not know you assumes that you are an intruder or threat.
  • Always keep a safe distance between you and the strange dog in case the dog does attack
  • Pay attention to the dogs’ body language. The following might indicate that the dog is uncomfortable and may feel the need to attack;

o   TENSED BODY

o   STIFF TAIL

o   PULLED BACK HEAD AND/OR EARS

o   FURROWED BROW

o   EYES ROLLED BACK SO THAT WHITE ARE VISIBLE

o   YAWNING

o   FLICKING TONGUE

o   INTENSE STARE

o   BACKING AWAY

  • If the dog does attack, resist the impulse to scream and run away.
  • Stay still, and avoid eye contact, and if knocked to the ground, curl into a ball and put your hands over your ears and remain motionless if possible.

In spite of efforts to prevent dog bites, dog bites are quite common and need to be taken seriously. Should you ever experience the trauma of being attacked by a dog, or know someone who has, the lawyers at the Mintz Law Firm would be happy to take your call and evaluate your case free of charge. We represent dog bite victims on a contingent fee basis. Please call 303-462-2999 for a free consultation.

For more information from the above listed sources, the links are listed below.

www.americanhumane.org

www.themost10.com

www.dog-breeds-expert.com

www.list25.com

www.nickiee.hubpages.com

www.aspca.org

www.dogsbite.org

www.humanesociety.org