The American Humane Association reports some very sobering dog bite statistics. These should merit our attention, whether we're dog owners, parents of young children, or simply house guests:
- there have been 238 dog-bite related fatalities in the U.S. Of these, 25 different breeds of dogs have been involved.
- 92% of fatal dog attacks involve male dogs. Of these, 94% of the males were not neutered.
- 58% of fatalities involve unrestrained dogs on their own property.
- 70% of fatalities were to children under the age of 10.
- 82% of dog bite E.R. visits involve children under the age of 15.
- bite rates are dramatically higher among children in the 5 - 9 age bracket.
- unsupervised newborns are 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog.
These facts carry a strong message. As dog owners, we should neuter our male dogs (for many reasons), and have heightened awareness of our dogs' interaction with houseguests. We should absolutely keep a close watch when our dogs are near children.
Note: Andrew Thomas, a partner in the firm, is the proud owner of "Cruiser" (or maybe it's the other way around). Cruiser is a kind, inquisitive, and handsome 140 pound bullmastiff. He's known throughout the neighborhood as a loyal friend to people of all ages. Bullmastiffs are truly the "gentle giants" of the canine world, and the Thomas family has owned 4 through the years. Nonetheless, we remain watchful and use caution when Cruiser meets a new houseguest or is near children. He never leaves the house unleashed. We're also quick to teach kids how to treat Cruiser (no yelling, pulling his ears or tail, wrestling with him, etc.). He's neutered, and has been socialized with children since birth. In short, though our strong yet gentle friend knows only love, we remain aware that he is, in fact, a dog. (Cruiser the Bullmastiff, pictured with his cousin Gellie, a Bulldog)