Don’t be a victim of dog bites

Don’t be a victim of dog bites

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Dogs may be man’s best friends, but it does not change the fact that they are still animals and they can bite, regardless of size and breed.

On February 21, 2014, I wrote an article entitled, “Prevent yourself from dog bites.” On August 29, 2014, I wrote another article entitled, “Avoid strange dogs.” Both write-ups had quite rich information on how to save ourselves from being dog-bite victims.

Unfortunately, exactly 232 days after the first write-up, a boy narrowly escaped death after he was seriously bitten by two dogs. The immediate elder brother of the victim, seven-year-old Osemudiamen, told The PUNCH correspondent that the dogs had chased him, the four-year-old Omonigho, and their elder brother, Bobby, while they were taking turns to ride a bicycle in their compound.

He said, “We were riding a bicycle in the compound when the big dogs ─ Jack and Gadaffi ─ started barking at us. Later, they moved towards us. My elder brother and I quickly ran upstairs and locked the door, while Omo (Omonigho), who could not run fast, was left behind.

“When he got to the door, he knocked that we should open for him and as we did, one of the dogs forced his way into the house with him. We all ran out. Bobby jumped down from upstairs and I also jumped. But Omo could not jump, so the dog attacked him. The other dog also joined in the attack and there was nothing we could do.”

On the 26th of August, a report by The PUNCH correspondent, Folashade Adebayo, entitled “Morning after dog bite two residents to death,” revealed another incident in which a huge Alsatian dog named Jerry, owned by a family living in Mologede Estate, an unplanned but tranquil neighbourhood in the Meiran area of Lagos, allegedly caused the death of two persons known as Musa and Aisha. Musa was a 13-year-old boy who just passed his Junior School Certificate Examination. Jerry bit Musa while he was playing with his friends. Aishat was a 21-year-old National Diploma graduate.

Again, on February 24, 2015, nine-year-old Moyinoluwa Banwo survived a ferocious attack with multiple injuries all over his body after two Alsatian dogs owned by Okolo Chukwuma attacked him.

The boy’s father, Mr. Femi Banwo, who lives in the same estate but three streets away from Chukwuma, told Saturday PUNCH that his son had left the house around 5pm for his friend’s house on Michael Shoyinka Avenue in Greenland Estate, just two houses away from the dog owner’s house.

“My son was helping his friend with an assignment in front of the boy’s house when Chukwuma opened the gate of his own compound and let the dogs out.

“I think my son’s friend must have seen the dogs first and ran away, but my son did not. The dogs promptly set upon him and bit him all over his body until their owner restrained them.”

The dogs and their owner have been arrested by the police in Ogun State, and they are currently at the Department of Criminal Investigations, Eleweran, Abeokuta.

My intention of elaborating these incidents is not to scare you. Rather, it is meant to be a wake-up call to ensure that we prevent a repeat of these incidences.

Let us quickly take a look at some common factors in all the three incidents that have been elaborated. The first is that the victims were all children. Secondly, the victims were left unsupervised. Third, the victims were bitten outdoors. Finally, the dogs that bit them were strange, not personal dogs.

This implies that children should not be encouraged to play outdoors in an environment where a strange dog is present. If they must, they should never be left unsupervised. Also, you should also teach them to realise that the fact that they can play with their own pets does not mean they can do so with any other pet they see.

They should be taught to always ask for permission from the owner of the dog before they pet a dog; and they should never approach a barking, growling or scared dog.

Respect a dog’s space. Keep your hands away from a dog’s fence or kennel. Dogs are territorial and they consider their living areas as their personal property and may growl or bite to protect it.

A dog should be kept on a leash when it is out in a public place. However, if you see a dog wandering loose without the owner, do not attempt to run away, and do not make loud noises. In addition, you may also need to look away from the dog because dogs sometimes think that direct eye contact is a challenge for power and control.

To reduce the number of injuries from dog bites, adults and children should be educated about bite prevention, while dog owners should practise responsible dog ownership. If you do not own dogs, it is also your responsibility to practice safe behaviour when you are around unfamiliar dogs.

Next week, I will discuss further on more salient tips on how to prevent dog bites, coupled with signs a dog will display before launching an attack. Till then, have a splendid weekend.

To be concluded.

“Dogs may be man’s best friends, but it does not change the fact that they are still animals and they can bite, regardless of size and breed.”

PUNCH.

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