News reports from the east of the state indicate that a five-year-old died this weekend after being attacked by a pit bull. According to area TV station KTVB the child was with a babysitter in a family friend’s home when the attack took place.
An Associated Press article republished in The Daily Journal on Monday adds that the dog responsible for the attack has been impounded and is expected to be put down.
I have written before about the dangers of Oregon dog attacks, and the special dangers that some breeds, such as pit bulls, pose for children. Children have even fewer ways to protect themselves from a violent dog than an adult or teen and are, therefore, at special risk around these animals. Indeed, the argument could be made that granted the long history of pit bull attacks on humans no child should be around an unmuzzled pit bull and, at the very least, that children – especially smaller children – should never be left along with the animals.
That point highlights what may be the most shocking aspect of this Oregon child injury: how utterly unnecessary it was. Surely the adult looking after the child could have put the dog outside (tied up or in a fenced yard) or at least confined it to another room. To call this death – and any similar injury – preventable is a gross understatement.
From my perspective as an Oregon child injury attorney this story, at its core, this is a reminder of the importance of adult supervision. One could argue that pit bulls and similar animals pose a special threat, but the larger point is that adults charged with the care of children need to appreciate the responsibilities with which they have been entrusted. It is easy to say that childrens’ safety is everyone’s responsibility and in a very general sense that is true. But parents, relatives, teachers and professional caregivers bear the greatest burden, and need to make the greatest effort to ensure that every child is safe.
KTVB.com: Kindergartner dies after Pit Bull Attack
AP via The Daily Journal: Pit Bull that fatally mauled Baker City kindergartner to be put to death