Dogs are beloved companions that play important roles in the lives of people all over Texas. Some dogs are working dogs that serve important roles such as protecting livestock or even guiding them to pasture, while other dogs provide services to people with disabilities. Even non-working dogs, known as pets and companion animals, offer their owners love and socialization, as well as an opportunity for exercise.
Dog owners often invest hundreds or thousands of dollars each year in the maintenance and care of their animals, which is, most of the time, rewarded with unconditional love. However, in some cases, even with responsible owners, dogs can act out unexpectedly, causing severe injury to people in dog bite attacks. When the victims of those attacks are children, the potential consequences are often far more severe.
Children may unknowingly provoke dogs with their behavior or voices
Adult humans typically know when a dog feels frightened or aggressive because they know to watch body language. Small children may miss those warning signs while simultaneously provoking a response in the dog.
That lack of understanding is surely one reason why 42% of all serious dog bites involve children under the age of 14. Additionally, high-pitched voices, rapid, unpredictable movements and what may seem like aggressive behavior that was simply an attempt to play on the part of the child could all result in an otherwise kind dog owned by a responsible human turning into an aggressive animal.
Children are easier to severely wound due to their size
Small and medium-sized dogs may not pose much of a threat to adult humans, but they could cause serious injury to young children. Even a small dog could bite a child in a manner that causes permanent injury or disfigurements. Additionally, medium-sized and large dogs could aggressively pounce on a child in a way that knocks the child down, potentially breaking bones or causing brain injuries with lifelong consequences.
Even if all the dog does is bite, children are more vulnerable to injuries to their faces, throats and hands because of their short stature. Injuries to these sensitive locations may require reconstructive surgery or extensive medical care.
Children may generalize their experience into a fear of dogs
Even if the dog bite attack only resulted in the single traumatic wound that heals cleanly with time, the child may bear scars that last for many years. Depending on the circumstances, the child could develop a strong and irrational fear of certain environments, like public parks, or of dogs themselves. Instead of being able to view the dog bite attack as an isolated incident involving one dog as an adult would, children may generalize that experience and apply it to all dogs or companion animals.