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Dog attacks create media frenzy

A BABY savaged by his grandmothers dogs, a father dying of septicaemia and a two dog ‘rampage’ in Bristol have yet again led to more anti-dog hype in the national media.

Three-month-old Jaden Mack last weekend became the fourth child to die in such an attack in the past 30 months, and his death will certainly spark new demands for tighter controls on dangerous dogs.

Jaden, who was staying at his grandmother’s house last Friday evening was attacked by his grandmothers two terriers, a Jack Russell and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Neighbours in the south Wales town of Ystrad Mynach reported hearing screams shortly after midnight as Denise Wilson ran into the street shouting for help. They went into the house to find Jaden still being mauled by the dogs.

The animals were pulled from the baby and one neighbour tried to give the baby the kiss of life. Jaden was taken by ambulance to Prince Charles hospital in nearby Merthyr Tydfil, but was pronounced dead soon afterwards.

Wilson was later taken to the same hospital suffering from shock. She was subsequently interviewed by police while the boy’s parents were being comforted by detectives.
Police took the dogs to a local veterinary surgery where they were destroyed.

Chief Inspector Jim Baker of Gwent police said: “This is a tragic incident for the family and the community. Police family liaison officers are supporting the family through this difficult time. Although the exact circumstances of the baby’s death are yet to be established, we would like to reiterate the advice that dogs should never be left unsupervised with young children.”

In a statement issued through Gwent Police, Jaden’s parents Christopher and Alexandra said: “We would like to stress to all families with young children and pet dogs that no matter how much trust you have in your dog, something like this is always possible.

"We never thought it could happen to us, but we are now grieving the loss of our 'little man' who will always be in our hearts and loved very much by all of his family and friends.”

Stan RawlinsonStan Rawlinson, Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer told OUR DOGS: ‘This story echoes the tragedy in September 2006, of five-month-old Cadey-Lee Deacon, who subsequently died of her injuries. In that case it was Rottweilers; once again two dogs were involved. It is so vitally important we never leave children alone with any dog or leave any access so dogs can get to any small children. This tragedy, as with Cadey-Lee, may have happened because of the whimpering and crying sounds that babies make. This can stimulate the hunting or play instinct of normally placid and gentle dogs.

Nanny dogs

‘Their prey or predatory instinct may have then taken over, the sounds stimulating the part of the brain that deals with hunting and chase. They may have considered Cadey-Lee and Jaden an injured animal or even a toy or plaything. In particular two or more dogs may stimulate each other to aggression.

‘It is unusual, but not totally unknown, for a pure bred Staffordshire Bull Terrier to attack a child. Their nickname is “the nanny dog”. Most attacks on humans by so called Staffordshire Bull Terriers are in reality by crosses, not pure bred Staffords.

‘Having said that no child should left with any dog however placid or benign that dog’s normal nature is. The strange sounds of a young baby and the waving of arms and legs can stimulate deep seated natural instincts, resulting in these types of fatal injuries.

‘The majority of the cases I treat regarding aggression are related to poor socialisation at an early age. Nearly all of these cases are fear or instinct related, rather than a dominance issue. It has been suggested that 80% of all behavioural problems are caused because of the lack of handling, training, and early socialisation, during the early weeks and months of a puppy’s life. I would not disagree with that proposition.

‘All dogs can be aggressive, all dogs can cause serious injuries, what we should never do is blame the breed. Punish the deed not the breed, these dogs have paid the ultimate price and were rightfully euthanised. It was the circumstances that lead up to this dreadful event that we should question, not whether breeds should be destroyed because of it.’

Blood poisoning

In another incident , ‘fantastic dad’ Stephen Hudspeth contracted suspected septicaemia after being bitten on the elbow by a ‘Staffordshire Bull terrier’. The 33-year-old, of Co Durham, suffered flu-like symptoms and was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital with suspected blood poisoning, where he died last just 24 hours after being bitten.

On Monday, the national news channels and newspapers reported that six people, including two children, were injured when two dogs went on the rampage in Bristol. Four people were taken to hospital with bite wounds after the attack by two escaped German Shepherd Dogs. Among the victims was a six-year-old girl who suffered bites to her left side and a 15-year-old schoolboy who was bitten on the arm. The girl's 45-year-old mother was bitten on the forearm and bicep as she tried to fend off the dogs.

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I feel very bad for the parents and the grandparents of the little baby. No child should be left alone with any dog.
I have grandchldren and dogs, and when they were babies I didn't leave them alone.
More fodder for the media and peta, they don't want us owning any domestic animal.  Again my condolences to the family.

Jeanette Fossum