Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dog Kills Toddler

In a tragic incident in Florida this week a dog killed a toddler at a party.

News report #1

News report #2

According to news reports 20 month-old Dallas Walters dropped a cookie and when he went to pick it up the dog attacked. He died later in hospital. The attack occurred at the child's aunt's house during a party.

Our hearts go out to the family at this very sad time.

Doggone Safe cofounder and animal behavior specialist, Teresa Lewin said to me once: "Trust is a dog's worst enemy". This incident is an example of this. People trust their dogs too much. People make assumptions about their dogs based on general ignorance of dog behaviour. People do not know how to read dog body language and do not see accidents waiting to happen.

This accident did not just happen out of the blue with no warning. This dog was stressed beyond its limit. There were certainly warning signs, but no-one recognized them. Many factors (some of them undoubtedly unreported in the news story) combined to result in this dog attacking the child. These include:
  • Dog loose among guests
  • Dog stressed by noise and people
  • Dog stressed by people with food
  • Toddler + food + dog (always a dangerous combination)
  • Toddler in close proximity to loose dog
Unfortunately this exact set of circumstances will occur in many homes over the holidays and there will be more bites as dogs are pushed past their limits, trusted too much and misunderstood.

Please visit the Doggone Safe page with holiday bite prevention tips. This includes a press release that you can send to your local media.