California Infant Killed by Pet Dogs
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. A 3-month-old California infant died recently due to an attack by a family pet in a tragic accident. There were three dogs in the family home, a Labrador, a Rottweiler and a small terrier. Since it could not be determined which of the dogs participated in the attack, all three were removed from the home by animal control. I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the child in this time of tragedy.
According to the report, the grandmother was in a room with the infant around 3:30 in the afternoon when she left momentarily to retrieve the baby’s bottle. This was when one or more of the dogs entered the room and mauled the child. The baby was taken to a hospital in a condition described as critical and died shortly afterward.
Dog Bite Fatalities
Tragedies such as these demonstrate how serious dog bites are. In California, thousands of people seek medical care every year because of a dog bite. Information from dogsbite.org states that 43 percent of dog bite fatalities in 2016 were to children ages nine and under. According to a specialist in canine behavior, the upward trend in dog bite injuries and fatalities is likely due to more people purchasing the animals for protection, rather than purely as pets. Those living in rural areas are also more likely to acquire dogs for protection rather than city dwellers, who often have small canines and security systems at their homes or apartments.
Dog Bite Statistics From 2005 to 2016
Between the years 2005 and 2016, 392 fatalities occurred due to dog bites. The breeds that were deemed responsible are as follows:
- Pit bulls were responsible for 254 of the deaths from dog attacks. This represents 64.8 percent of the total number of attacks.
- Rottweilers came in second with 43 deaths, representing 11 percent of the total.
- German shepherds came in third with 15 deaths at 3.8 percent.
- American bulldogs represented 3.6 percent of the fatalities.
- Mixed breed dogs were blamed for 13 deaths at 3.3 percent.
- Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs came in sixth with 12 fatalities, which represented 3.1 percent of the fatalities.
- Huskies tied with Mastiffs and Bullmastiffs with 12 deaths.
- The rest of the fatalities were listed as unknown breeds of dogs or a combination. They represented 19 percent of the dog bite fatalities at 7.3 percent.
Dog Bites Cause Severe Injuries
California leads the nation in the number of dog bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite around 4.5 million individuals on a yearly basis. Children and senior citizens are particularly vulnerable. Some of the following tips may help to keep children safe. However, the only sure-fire way to protect children is by training them and keeping them out of harm’s way, especially when around unfamiliar animals:
- Never allow a dog around children without adult supervision present at all times.
- Be particularly cautious with small children and infants.
- Dogs can be alerted and become aggressive by the cry of a child. Babies, in particular, don’t blink as often as older children, and this can be seen as a sign of aggression by some dogs.
- Make the child’s nursery off limits to the family’s dogs.
- When children are present, either pen or crate the dog, or place it outside or on a leash.
- Train children how to handle the family dog. Pulling of the ears or tail and similar actions can make a dog turn aggressive. However, dog bites occur even when playing with them.
- Instruct children to stay away from a dog’s bed, food, water bowls and toys.
Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. Dog bites cause serious injuries and fatalities every year. If you or your loved one was bitten or you lost a family member due to a dog attack, please give me a call at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. I have a toll-free line also at (808) 404-5400.
For the past 36 years, I’ve worked as an injury lawyer in Sacramento, helping local residents and others from around Northern California to obtain fair compensation in cases of wrongful death and accident trauma.
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