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Dog attacks raise safety concerns

Posted August 31, 2009
Updated September 1, 2009

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— Recent dog attacks involving an infant and a 5-year-old boy have some families concerned about keeping their children safe.

Onslow County sheriff's deputies could charge a couple with felony child abuse after a pit bull dog chewed the toes off the foot of a 4-month-old baby Sunday night. Last week, a 5-year-old Wilson boy was attacked by his family's Rottweiler, his father said.

SPCA offers advice of picking family dog SPCA offers advice of picking family dog

Parent Ivey Sikorski said she's been meticulous about picking out a dog to adopt.

“We searched a lot of different places. I went online. My husband said I was obsessed with it,” Sikorski said.

Sikorski said as a mother and former dog bite victim, selecting a gentle dog was important.

“When you have small children, you need a dog that you can go up to when they're eating, when they're sleeping, (and) you can touch it and it won't do anything,” Sikorski said.

Animal behaviorist Molly Stone said parents must take responsibility for the dog from the start.

“We tell parents that a relationship between a dog and a child can be very rewarding for the dog and the child, and that they need to expect to do the lion share of the work, instead of having the child be the primary caretaker,” Stone said.

Stone recommends parents “look for dogs who aren't easily startled, who aren't terribly sensitive about having their bodies handled, who don't mind if there's a hand in their food dish, and who don't mind being in really close proximity” of small children.

Stone said certain breeds shouldn't be singled out as problem dogs. Any dog can bite, even a longtime pet.

“It is always important to remember that they're your family member, but they are also a dog. It is important to respect that,” Stone said.

The Wake County SPCA offers a section on its Web site for dog owners concerned about problem behaviors.

27 Comments

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  • LisaB Sep 1, 2009

    This is just a reminder that no matter the breed, we should always watch our children around all pets. (dogs, cats, birds, snakes, etc.)

  • Moabit Sep 1, 2009

    I want to know what kind of dog this lady wants to get? A dog that will not bite or do anything even if a child is messing with its food? Good luck with that one. I guess a sedated dog will do. Any dog can bite, they are animals, no matter how small they are.

  • Joco.GirL 06 Sep 1, 2009

    && i TOTALLY agree with this --

    "thanks pinklady. im sure as the day goes by, im going to see a lot less love over my comments, but i'm sorry, facts are facts. cubans don't like to be called mexicans. puerto ricans dont like to be called cubans. and i dont like the breed i know and love being ostracized because the media likes to call any dog with a large head and short coat a 'pit bull.'

    funny how less than a century ago, the American Pit Bull Terrier was a national symbol of loyalty and awesomeness. Thanks, media, for wrongly accusing the breed just to sell papers and ad space online. How sensational would 'Mixed breed mongrel gnaws off the toes of a 4 month old baby'? Thanks criminals, for destroying what used to be an awesome breed of dog.
    YourMileageMayVary "

  • Joco.GirL 06 Sep 1, 2009

    Answer this...why is it that you see the same breed reported in these stories? WHY? Are all of you lovers of pit bulls and rottweilers saying it happens just as often with other breeds? - nod2004
    I agree with kahniac9..

    Um, let's talk about humans - we're all the same "breed". Most of the human "breed" are just as mean, if NOT WORSE.

  • chargernut69 Sep 1, 2009

    Gee I have a great idea... keep the dogs away from the small babies! Keep 'em outside!

  • alwaysconcernedmom Sep 1, 2009

    I am sorry. I have dogs and I have a question. How in the world can a dog chew the toes off of a baby and the mother not hear the child screaming? You KNOW that child had to be screaming. Instead of blaming it all on the dog, maybe the MOTHER OF THAT BABY should be put down! I mean, give me a break.

  • ohmygosh Sep 1, 2009

    Guess you Raleighites don't understand how many people of less means get their dogs. They don't do any research-- except perhaps word of mouth. The don't give a hoot about its papers or breeding. They just go get a dog-- in many cases free.

    Then there are others who buy a dog to intimidate others.
    They want junk yard dog for perceived protection they will provide.

    Both lead to problems.

    That being said, there is no dog you can buy with will come with a 100% guarantee it won't revert to the animal it is hiding behind its pedigree.

  • 2muchdrama4me Sep 1, 2009

    Answer this...why is it that you see the same breed reported in these stories? WHY? Are all of you lovers of pit bulls and rottweilers saying it happens just as often with other breeds?
    nod2004

    Because it does. It's ignorance like yours that people don't want to believe other breeds can be just as bad, if not worse!

  • me2you Sep 1, 2009

    Answer this...why is it that you see the same breed reported in these stories? WHY? Are all of you lovers of pit bulls and rottweilers saying it happens just as often with other breeds?

  • 2muchdrama4me Sep 1, 2009

    YourMileageMayVary....LOL

    I couldn't agree more with your post. I have a pit at home and she is very well mannered. My son absolutely adores her!

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