Update 3/10/10 – Initial reports indicated that a baby girl had been killed by a family dog. Today, the child’s name has been released. Justin Lopez, an 8-month old boy, is reportedly the actual victim in this attack. Additionally, new reports indicate that there was more than one dog involved in the incident. Additional details will be shared as they are learned.
Perkins, OK – Another tragic, unnecessary infant death resulting from an unsupervised infant/dog interaction. A baby boy, less than 12 months of age, lost his life on Monday morning after a family’s newly acquired dog launched an attack.
The incident took place in rural Oklahoma, on Iowa Tribal land. The family has refused to speak to the media, but a cousin phoned KFOR news with his input on the tragedy. According to the cousin’s statement, the dog, reported to be a Rottweiler, had just been obtained by the family on Sunday. The family had taken the dog in to “protect the property”.
Details of the attack are unclear. According to the cousin, there are dogs all around the property. Apparently this dog gained access to the baby and she lost her life.
There are many questions surrounding the circumstances that lead up to the fatal baby attack. Why was a large breed dog that was new to the family around a defenseless child?
Why did the family obtain a dog to protect their property if there were already “many dog” roaming the property? Where were the parents?
It’s been said time and time again, dog/child interaction must be monitored at all times. Bringing a brand new dog into the family mix requires even more vigilance on the part of the parents.
Most reputable rescue organizations will be overly cautious when adopting out dogs (especially large breed dogs) to families which include young children. However, there are no safety nets in place for dogs obtained off of Craigslist, newspapers ads, or from a city or county shelter.
People who feel the need to adopt an adult dog (or buy a dog) from someone who has not thoroughly evaluated the temperament of the dog need to be cautious with any child (or baby) interactions. Even if the dog has been evaluated and deemed “safe” to be in a home with young children, all interactions must be monitored. Never assume that a dog is 100% incapable of biting.
If you are adopting a dog from a person on Craigslist, or from an owner who is running a newspaper ad, please be aware that these people are getting rid of their dog and they may not always be truthful about the dog’s temperament. Remember, they want the dog gone – some people will say anything that they need to in order to get the dog into a new home. Take everything that you are told with a grain of salt and exercise your own caution when making introductions to your family.
For readers who visit the KFOR.com news site, you will find a long series of disheartening, disturbing comments. Sadly, many of the people who left comments have focused more on race issues than the tragedy that took a baby’s life.
The only way for tragic accidents like this to stop happening is for people to become more educated and to exercise greater caution when dogs are around children. Dogs can be fabulous companions to children, but everyone needs to remember that dogs can inflict great damage (especially to a child’s face) in a short amount of time.
A dog’s bite, with intent to inflict harm, can cause instant disfigurement or worse. Do not let the opportunity for such an event to take place. Do not leave dogs and children alone unsupervised. If you have recently adopted a dog, take extra care. Your child is just getting to know the dog, and the dog is just getting to know the child.
Do not assume that the dog is incapable of snapping when/if irritated. Parents, it is up to you be supervise interactions. It is up to you to prevent potential bites….or worse.
This family does not get a second chance for their baby boy. He is gone. Details of the attack may come out in time, but for now, all that can be said is that a little life is gone forever.
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Examiner Note: My experience with Rottweilers has been positive. My own sister owned the most wonderful Rottweiler that you could ask for. It is my belief that poor ownership and irresponsibility are the root of most problems. Owners who raise their dogs properly will have dogs who behave properly. With any dog, supervision is a must and it is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that dog/child interactions are safe. Any dog, of any breed, can inflict harm. This article is NOT about Rottweilers being a dangerous breed.