Family Dogs and Children
In 2012, more than half of the fatal dog attacks that occurred in the U.S. happened to children. Children can be highly susceptible to fatal dog attacks. They are smaller than adults. Many children may not realize that they are aggravating a dog, or group of dogs, until it is too late. Furthermore, very young children must be introduced into a home with a dog very carefully. The family dog may not understand the new child, sharing in attention, or loud crying behavior.
Almost every fatal dog attack reported in 2012 involved the family’s own dog. The few fatal dog attacks that occurred outside of a family-owned pet involved a very well-known dog, such as a neighbor’s dog. Certain behaviors raise unnecessary fatal dog attack risks. While children play with dogs, lack of adult supervision can result in sudden canine aggression. This is particularly risky if there are several dogs involved. The child might be unable to protect him or herself alone.
Dog Attack Pack Mentality
Regardless of age, when a person is alone with a pack of dogs the chances of fatal dog attacks are increased. Undomesticated canine behavior is a prime example of this risk. In nature, dogs live and hunt in packs. As a matter of survival, dogs have a natural tendency to become more aggressive or territorial while acting in groups.
Fatal Dog Attacks Involving Stray Packs
Due to the natural canine pack mentality, stray dogs that are left without homes for a long time may eventually group together. Most dog attacks involving stray dogs include groups of dogs. Children, young adults, middle-aged adults, and elderly persons are all at risk of fatal dog attacks from stray dog packs. In 2012, fatal dog attacks involving strays were extremely rare, but reports from early 2013 already indicate that this number has increased.
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