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Family Dog Mauls Baby: Avoidable?

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on May 7, 2018 13:07

2 users

The lovable family dog is still a dog with animal tendencies we can’t anticipate. Parents need to assess the risk of allowing dogs open access to infants and children to prevent the unthinkable.

Today in the news was a story I've heard dozens of times - a baby gets mauled and dies by the family dog. The social media comments ranged from heartbreak to disbelief. A debate opened up, as could be expected on social media, based on one comment essentially asking who was watching the baby.

It was unclear by the story if anyone was. A rebuttal lashed out at the questioner’s insensitivity, saying a family member was watching the child and these things happen so fast that the person questioning it was way off base.

Stop and think about that reply.

I love dogs! (Yes, make sure the dog lives in the movie. No one else matters.) But when my son was born none of our four dogs were allowed around him unless someone was holding him. Not just in the same room observing the situation, but holding him while he interacted with the dogs. While I wish we had cute pictures of my baby and our fur babies sleeping on the floor together in a big huge dog pile, it wasn't worth the risk. Why? Because that comment was correct, things happen in the blink of an eye.

As my son got older, he learned how to treat dogs appropriately and look for signs of aggressive behavior. But as a young child? He was never alone with them.

It was hard for me and hard for my dogs; after all, they were my top babies before my son came along. But we had a system so everyone got the attention they needed. Eventually, the dogs got more time around my son who loved them like I did. He respected their food, their fur and their pack mentality. They sat sentry on stormy nights outside his bedroom door, protecting their little one.

My heart goes out to the family who lost their baby. I wasn't there so I don't know the details of what happened other than the tragic outcome. It’s easy to imagine a lovely family enjoying a relaxing Saturday afternoon in front of the television when something no one expected nor could anticipate happening. It probably all happened in a heartbeat. This was probably a family that loved their baby and loved their dogs wholeheartedly and wanted nothing more than an environment for their child to grow up with the bond with a dog.

But as a parent and an animal advocate, I have to believe more situations like this are avoidable. If we know things happen quickly, take measures to reduce any risk. Even the most trusted family dog can still do the unimaginable.

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on May 7, 2018 13:07

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It was not immediately clear how the attack happened or whether the dog was a family pet.

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