According to the CDC 4.5 Million people are bitten by a dog each year in the US and 1 in 5 require medical attention leaving children as the most severely injured. This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week so what a better time to focus on some recent dog incidents in Hopewell, NJ.
There have recently been two young children attacked by dogs in Hopewell and their stories have been shared through social media and by word of mouth by concerned community members. It is important for everyone who owns a dog to be responsible and it is just as important for the community to be aware of dogs with aggressive histories that have the propensity to bite.
There is a dog that lives in the boro who recently attacked a HES student in the face while the student was visiting the dog-owner’s home. Unfortunately, through research on the dog’s history, it came to fruition that the dog has bitten roughly six (yes 6!) times before with only two cases were formally reported to the police. The young victim of this dog attack had almost half of her lip bit off, required emergency medical attention, plastic surgery and now has to deal with the aftermath of both physical and psychological effects of this dog attack. Because NJ has a no requirement to euthanize dogs who repeatedly bites, and only two reports were documented, it is up to the dog owners as to whether or not to put down the dog. Unfortunately, the family who adopted this dog knowing it had a history of biting, has decided to keep this dangerous dog alive and risks the 3rd strike on any other child and perhaps their own. Please beware of this dog and show it to you kids. Keep your children far away because the dog isn’t always on a muzzle.
The second incident reported recently was on a closed Hopewell Community Facebook page was seeking information about a dog-owner whose dog bit a 5-year only child on a hiking trail and gave the parent of the child a false name (Chris Wilcox) and phone number. Not knowing the history of the dog, a family was seeking out the owner in order to identify if the dog was up to date on its rabies shots. The Township of Hopewell Department of Health was involved to help the family but the owner never turned up. This left the family to set their son up for rounds of rabies shots as a precautionary measure.
Robert English (firstname.lastname@example.org) can be reached if you have information about this dog. You can see a picture of this guy and his dog on our Facebook Page post from April 28th.
It is important for the community to know what these dogs look like and to review some tips regarding dogs with their children. For playdates, it might make sense to consider asking the owner of the dog if they ever had a history. Better safe then sorry.
3 Rules Children Should Know About Dog Safety:
1) Never pet a dog on its head. Always pet on the back of the collar down toward the tail. Dogs don’t like hugs and kisses.
2) If a dog is eating, caring for puppies or sleeping leave it alone.
3) ALWAYS ask the pet owner if it is OK to pet the dog before doing so.
5 Tips for Owners of Dogs With Biting History
1) Walk your dog frequently and with a muzzle. If you dog has bitten in the past, putting a muzzle on the dog is the safest way to ensure that no one will get bitten again while out in public. You are liable for any harm your dog does even if you warn someone. Get your dog used to a muzzle and train it to walk with one. This will make the community more at ease if you have an aggressive dog and reduce the damage your dog will do if it tries to attack.
2) Don’t let a child play with a dog in your home without supervision. Supervise your dog or put it away when children are present and if they displayed any aggressive behavior around children in the past.
3) If you have a dog who has shown a pattern of aggression you should get professional help from a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. Dogs who have bitten are already a known risk and you should be responsible to properly address your dog’s aggression.
4) If you are not responsible enough or have the resources to train your dog and it shows a pattern of aggression without warning you should talk to your vet and consider euthanizing your dog. Yes, this is a horrible decision to make but if you have a dog that shows a pattern of biting this should be considered in order to ensure safety of your own children and the public.
5) Make sure you are giving your dog a lot of love and a lot of exercise.
With so many children walking around the towns of Hopewell, Pennington and Princeton, it is a good time to share these stories and educate yourself and your children. Perhaps it will prevent another unprovoked attack in the future.