Yet another case of an innocent child being killed by a dog ! Over the last 6 months in the UK, there has been a number of reports of children being killed by dogs (1, 2). Although cases of this nature has occurred in the past, anecdotal evidence may suggest that this is an increasing trend! Why then is someone not doing anything about it?
From a rational standpoint, the actions of 4 main actors might have contributed to these tragedies: The dog, its owner, the child and his/her parent(s). In all the above cases the children were less than 5 years old. It is therefore unreasonable to lay the blame on the children. What about the other actors?
Undoubtedly some breeds of dogs are more aggressive than others. The following are the breed of dogs which caused the mutilations in some of the cases: Rottweilers (x2 cases) and Bull Terrier (x2 cases). The strengthening of the Dangerous Dogs Act may now be required, although the DogsTrust may disagree.
The owners of these dogs must shoulder a significant responsibility for these unfortunate incidents. It has been suggested that the lack of appropriate care for these animals has contributed to these attacks (3, 4). A mandatory custodial sentence must be considered for owners who has demonstrated a stark lack of onus.
As a young parent myself, I will avoid putting my baby in an environment where this is likely to happen. Most parents will act responsibly but these tragedies are sometimes unavoidable. As long the parents have taken reasonable steps, then there is nothing more to say.
What is not excusable is the irresponsible owners of a dangerous dogs with small children. These group of owners must be sent to jail and the keys thrown away...