No one knows what could have provoked the one-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd mix that attacked and a killed a two-year-old boy in his home on Saturday. The dog had been with the family for about six months and had never shown aggression around the family's four young children before.
The dog attack occurred while the children's mother was downstairs, lying on the couch. The dog went upstairs and attacked the toddler in front of his siblings, the oldest of which quickly called to their mother for help.
The boy was taken to a nearby hospital, but could not be saved.
The dog was picked up by animal control officers and, assumedly, will be euthanized.
The incident underscores the importance of monitoring the interaction of young children and pets at all times. It is a hard line to draw because it is not possible to be there all the time and even if it were, it does not seem feasible to expect such oversight.
As we have discussed in previous posts, any dog may attack for any reason. Especially with young children who may handle the dog roughly or take it by surprise, it is essential that one-on-one exposure be limited. If you cannot find a way to monitor all interactions, then keeping the dog near you at times when you cannot spare attention might be a solution.
If you have older children, you may be able to teach them the proper way to handle family pets and then have them keep an eye out for their younger sibling(s).
Still, dog attacks sometimes happen without provocation and without warning. Even if steps could have been taken to prevent this dog attack, the absolute tragedy of the situation is not diminished in any way.
- Dog mauls toddler to death in Tierrasanta (Sign on San Diego)