Like those in other states, many families in Colorado have dogs. This should come as no surprise considering the old idiom that the dog is man’s best friend. Though this statement is known by many, it is not always true. An animal attack can occur at any time and this has left many families wondering what to do with their pets when a friend or family member has been bitten.
According to reports, most dog bites involve a victim that is a family, friend or neighbor of the dog owner. Data show that 4.5 million people have been bitten throughout the nation this year alone. Approximately 800,000 of these victims needed medical attention. A study from the Children’s Hospital on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus examined more than 530 children that had been treated after receiving dog bites to the face. Those bites occurred between 2003 and 2008 with 68 percent of the bites happening to children that were 5 years old or younger.
The study found that the highest incidence rate for childhood dog bites in this study occurred in 3-year-olds. Though some may blame the dogs and may go so far even to blame the breed, an analysis of the data conducted during the study found that breed was not an issue. Instead of blaming the dogs or the owners, experts believe that a lack of education is the culprit. Many people do not understand how to interpret the body language of a dog, which often indicates if the animal is planning to bite.
Another way to eliminate the chance of a dog bite is to supervise and safely manage the environment of a dog. If a 3-year-old is near a dog and the child pets the dog too aggressively or pulls its ears in an uncomfortable fashion, the dog might snap. That child has no way of interpreting the body language of a dog and should not be held responsible. The dog should not be held responsible either. Parents and dog owners should be sure to watch children around an animal to make sure such a situation does not arise.
Source: Summit Daily, “Morrissey: ‘It’s that important!’,” Louisa Morrissey, Oct. 23, 2012