A five-year-old Spokane girl is recovering from an attack by a dog that was labelled dangerous and impounded by authorities after the incident. The girl, who needed nearly fifty stitches to her face, was visiting in a friend’s yard when the attack occurred.
The victim was playing with a smaller dog when a pit bull attacked the other dog. The child was caught in the middle. The pit bull was taken by the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) after the incident.
This kind of attack, in which a child or another person is bitten in a fight between two dogs, is actually very common. The most reliable information notes that about 4½ million Americans are bitten by a dog every year. Some of these dogs were already known to be vicious, but others were not.
Children are, unfortunately, both more likely to be bitten by a dog and more likely to suffer a serious injury. An organization that tracks dog bites published data last year showing that in the previous ten years 50 percent of the victims of fatal dog attacks were aged nine years old and under.
While the pit bull’s owner is apologetic and claims that the dog has never been a problem and had been good with children, the victim’s family believes the dog should be euthanized. The owner plans to appeal the dangerous designation to SCRAPS at a hearing.
SCRAPS can release dangerous dogs back to their owners but only under restrictions. An owner must follow rigid fencing requirements where the dog is kept, and the dog can only be taken out if it is leashed and muzzled. Owners must also obtain a $250,000 liability insurance policy to cover any future damage a dangerous dog might cause.
This was not the only incident with a biting dog in Spokane in February. Just over a week after the five-year-old was bitten, a man shot a pit bull that he claimed had broken loose from a neighbor’s yard and attacked him. The dog was euthanized and a SCRAPS spokesperson noted that while they did not agree with the shooting, the man had a gun permit and was “justified.”
Only a day later, another pit bull attacked a police officer who was investigating a report of a vicious dog running loose. That animal was also labelled dangerous and impounded.
A few years ago, a Spokane television station had looked at the records of dog bites in the area. In the year and a half prior to their report, 249 dog bites had been reported (and many more probably occurred). In Spokane, pit bulls accounted for 25 percent of those bites, even though they were only 3 percent of licensed dogs. People argue that pit bulls get a bad rap and that no particular breed is any more dangerous than another. While there is some truth to this—some small breeds actually bite more often—it’s also true that large dogs, such as pit bulls, are more likely to cause serious injury or death when they do attack.
Because even the friendliest dog can attack under the right circumstances, people should always be alert around them. As the CDC and others point out, children should never be left unattended around dogs because their small size and inexperience with animals makes them especially vulnerable.
If you or a family member has been harmed in a dog attack, contact Craig Swapp & Associates. Our office has experience with dog bite cases and can help you get the compensation you need to recover from the injury and damage caused. Call us for a free consultation today at 1-800-404-9000, fill out our online contact form below, or launch the LiveChat feature from any page of this website for more information.