The danger of a dog bite is easy to forget when you are cuddling your precious pup. But no matter how well-trained they are, dogs are animals with natural instincts that cannot be tamed. The recent death of an Illinois toddler is a tragic reminder that we must all take care when a dog is nearby.
According to The State Journal-Register, one-year-old A’Myrikal Jolynn Hull was killed when her family’s dog attacked her. The dog was a pocket bully, a cross between an American Pit Bull Terrier and a Patterdale Terrier. It attacked Hull when she wandered too close to its bowl while it was eating.
Family friends say the attack was out of character for the dog, which has been with the family for around four years. They say the dog was trained to eat snacks from the girl’s hand, so it is unclear why it attacked this time.
Hull’s death is a tragedy. Sadly, it is just one of many serious dog bite injuries that will occur this year. Each year, over 4.5 million Americans, half of them children, suffer a serious dog bite injury.
It is impossible to completely stop dogs from biting, but we can all work to minimize the frequency and severity of dog bite injuries. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends teaching all children the following dog safety tips:
- Children should not approach, touch, or play with any dog who is sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies. Animals are more likely to bite if they’re startled, frightened, or caring for young.
- Children should never approach a barking, growling, or scared dog.
- Children should not pet unfamiliar dogs without asking permission from the dog’s guardian first. If the guardian says it is okay, the child should first let the dog sniff his closed hand. Then taking care to avoid petting the dog on the top of the head, he can pet the dog’s shoulders or chest.
- Children should not try to pet dogs who are behind a fence or in a car. Dogs often protect their home or space.
- If a child sees a dog off-leash outside, he should not approach the dog and should tell an adult immediately.
- If a loose dog comes near a child, he should not run or scream. Instead, he should avoid eye contact with the dog and stand very still, like a tree, until the animal moves away. Once the dog loses interest, the child can slowly back away.
- If a child falls down or is knocked to the ground by a dog, he should curl up in a ball with his knees tucked into his stomach, and fingers interlocked behind his neck to protect his neck and ears. If a child stays still and quiet like this, the dog will most likely just sniff him and then go away.
- Children should never try to outrun a dog. If a dog does attack a child, the child should “feed” the dog his jacket, bag, bicycle—or anything that he has for the dog to grab onto or anything he can put between himself and the dog.
Keeping these tips in mind, and teaching them to children, could help prevent another dog bite death.
If someone in your family has been seriously injured by a dog bite, and you are interested in taking legal action, the Stein & Shulman team is here for you. We have helped numerous dog bite victims in the Chicagoland area seek compensation following a dog attack. Contact us today to discuss your case.