Millions of Americans own pets. Dogs are undoubtedly one of the most beloved of all pets, and the U.S. is home to some 70 million dogs. While many of these canine companions are regarded and treated by their owners as members of the family, they are animals and can therefore be unpredictable and, in some cases, dangerous.
While a pet owner may believe a dog to be harmless and gentle, if a dog feels afraid or threatened, its natural instinct is to protect itself. As a result, a dog may lash out and nip at or bite an individual or child or, in some extreme cases, may go into attack mode.
A Southern California man was recently convicted of second-degree murder after his four pit bull dogs attacked a 63-year-old woman who was out taking a walk. By the time an ambulance arrived to transport the woman to a nearby hospital, it was too late. As a result of the multiple puncture wounds suffered in the dog attack, the woman lost too much blood and died while enroute to the hospital.
An estimated 30 people die in the U.S. each year as a result of dog bites and attacks. Many thousands more suffer painful and serious injuries. Often dog-bite victims require medical treatment that includes plastic or reconstructive surgery. In addition to the physical pain associated with a dog bite or attack, the emotional and mental pain can be debilitating. This is particularly true in cases where a child is bitten by a dog.
Dog owners are responsible for ensuring a dog is properly restrained. In cases where a dog owner fails to take measures to leash, restrain or enclose a dog that subsequently bites or attacks an individual; he or she may be subject to both civil or criminal charges.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Calif. man convicted of murder after pit bull attack,” Daina Beth Solomon, Aug. 29, 2014