Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

CHILDREN ARE MOST AT RISK FOR DOG ATTACKS

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | Mar 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

A list of 2013 pit bull attacks on dogsbite.org include:

Isaiah Aguilar, 2-years old, was struck down by his neighbor's pit bull. The boy had been playing with a balloon outside his home when the wind blew it into a neighbor's backyard. When he chased after the balloon, he was attacked by a female pit bull tied up in the yard.   Monica Laminack, 21-months old, was mauled to death by a pack of family pit bulls in the backyard of her home. Authorities believe Monica crawled through a doggie door unnoticed and was attacked -- the dogs lived both inside and outside the home.

Nephi Selu, 6-years old, was bitten on the head by his uncle's pit bull and died several hours later at a hospital in Palo Alto.  Cousins he was playing with at the time of the attack said that Nephi had been "ridding the dog like a horse," when it suddenly threw him down and clamped onto his head.

According to the American Humane Association, approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur each year.  Of those, 800,000 require medical care, costing the insurance industry approximately $1 billion a year.  Fortunately, there were only 32 fatal dog attacks in the United States during 2013; however, 56 percent of the total were children 7 years of age or younger.  In addition, children are more likely to be bitten on the head, face and neck since those areas of their anatomy are in closer proximity to the dog's mouth.   Not all dog attacks result in death; more often they result in permanent scarring and nerve damage.  It is painful to realize that the best cosmetic surgery in the world cannot completely repair the damage to a child's face after the child has been bitten.  According to dogsbite.org, victims of severe dog attacks often suffer acute damage, which may require $250,000 to one million dollars in specialized medical care treatment. Reconstructive surgery, such as skin grafting, tissue expansion and scar diminishment, often requires multiple procedures over a period of years.

Sometimes there is no explanation for a dog's sudden attack; however, many dog bites are direct results of the lack of adult supervision from a caregiver or a child's abuse of the animal.  It is the responsibility of adults to teach children how to behave around dogs to decrease these tragedies.

The Ciulla Law Firm, PLLC recommends the following tools for teaching children about safety around dogs:   The American Humane Association has created a curriculum set for children aged 4 to 7 years of age – the age group most likely to be bitten – entitled American Humane KIDS: Kids Interacting with Dogs Safely™.  The set includes lesson plans, games, activities, worksheets, songs, a 12-minute DVD and an educational coloring book geared toward teaching children how to interact with dogs safely and humanely.  The curriculum meets national standards of education and incorporates character educational methods for teachers, parents, and veterinarians.

The curriculum set is available on Amazon.   The Dogsbite.orgneighborhood safety brochure has 5 panels of important information. The safety brochure is professionally printed with one panel containing photos to help people identify dangerous dog breeds. The pamphlet comes in a 30-pack so that you can quickly distribute it to neighbors, friends or a classroom   Tails Are Not for Pulling, by Elizabeth Verdick and illustrated by Marieka Heinlen, is available both as a board book for the youngest child and in paperback for ages 4-7.  Included in the Best Behavior Series, the book teaches children empathy for animals, including careful handling, awareness of animal cues, safety measures and respect for animals' feelings.  Available from Freespirit May I Pet Your Dog?: The How-To Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids), written by Stephanie Calmenson and illustrated by Jan Ormerod, teaches children the right way to approach a dog to ensure that the first connection is a complete success, including always asking the dog's owner, “May I pet your dog?”  Also available as a video from Amazon.com.   Diggity the Dog is a puppet show book created by artist Lisa Lelue. This interactive book is a dog bite safety tool that offers 17 vital safety tips for parents and children. Lisa designed this book after her 9-year old son Benjamin was attacked by a "friendly neighborhood" dog.  She also created a website, Puppet Show Books that shows a slide show demonstration of the book and a video.   How Kids Should NOT Interact with Dogs is a poster developed by an experienced veterinarian, Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS, that explains to children why they should treat dogs with the same respect with which they treat people.  Available from Dr. Sophia Yin .

Jay Ciulla is a Phoenix, Arizona attorney who represents children with dog bite and personal injury cases. Call 602 495 0053 for a free consultation.

About the Author

Jay L. Ciulla

Jay L. Ciulla is a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Since 1997, he has been helping injured injured people with their legal issues. He has extensive litigation and trial experience and has represented clients in more than one hundred trials.

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