After a really quiet summer, it's been a really tragic last couple of weeks when it comes to dog bite fatality incidents. With 72 million dogs that live in our homes with us, and share our bedrooms, dogs are extremely safe members of our lives -- but sometimes incidents do occur. When these rare cases do happen, it is very important for us to look at the human-created circumstances that led up to the attack/bite so that we can better prevent such incidents in the future.
In Burleson, TX, a three month old child was tragically killed by the family dog. The incident is pretty bizarre in nature, but here's the gist of it as told by the media.
Essentially, police were called upon the scene last Monday night to intervene on a domestic distrubance call. Apparently the child's mother and father were seperated (after 3 months) and the mother came to the father's home. The two got into an argument, which led to the police being called.
While the police were on the scene, interviewing witnesses and taking photographs of some reported injuries that occured during the dispute, the 3 month old child fell asleep in the grandfather's arms. The grandfather put the baby inside on a bed -- leaving it alone with the dog inside the home.
They then heard a disturbance inside, and the grandfather ran in to find that the dog had pulled the infant off onto the floor and he ran outside with the infant in his arms. The infant was later pronounced dead. The dog involved in the incident is being called a 'pit bull mix" -- although from images on the internet it appears to be just a mixed breed dog.
In this space, I always tell people that newborns and toddlers should always be supervised 100% when with dogs -- no matter how well-behaved the dog is. In this case, the child was left alone with the dog during what was no doubt a very crazy scene: the dog was on the scene as the parents fought (enough to at least create injuries and lead to police being called to the scene), for police cars to pull up, likely with lights flashing, and strangers hanging out around the house taking photos and statements -- it would be enough to amp -up even the most docile of dogs. Meanwhile, it is unclear what injuries the child died from -- whether they were from bites sustained by the dog or from the fall from being drug off the bed.
Either way, it's a tragic story and a tragic scene where the humans are very much responsible for the situation that led up to the incident. The story was picked up by 39 news outlets.
In Oklahoma City, 60 year old Nellie Davis was apparently attacked by one of her daughter's two dogs. Ms. Davis' granddaughter was living in her grandmother's home while and Ms. Davis had just returned to the home after suffering from a long-standing sickness following having a heart transplant. While the granddaughter was away, one of the two dogs that lived at the home broke free from its plastic kennel (sounds like a travel crate, and not a sturdy metal kennel) and apparently attacked the older woman. There were no witnesses to the incident, and the granddaughter returned home to find her grandmother dead.
Police who arrived on the scene shot the dog when it was too aggressive to be confined back in its kennel.
According to neighbor testimony, the dogs had recently fought with each other and according to family testimony, this particular dog often became aggitated during thunderstorms (which were occurring at the time of the attack). The dog involved in the attack is being called a 'pit bull'.
My heart goes out to the families in both of these cases.