Bite Risks of Service Dogs

Thursday, April 28, 2011

It isn't only pet or stray dogs that are involved in dog bite incidents.  A case in New Jersey involving a service dog that attacked a young girl, illustrates that people may be in danger of attack from these animals too.

In this case, the service dog in training was used by a nine-year-old child who suffers from brain cancer.  The little girl has had multiple surgeries, and frequently suffers from dizziness.  She is dependent on the dog to keep her from falling.  However, the dog was recently involved in an attack involving a six-year-old girl. 

The victim was a neighbor of the family.  According to the parents of that little girl, the dog bite left their child with serious injuries to her face.  It was a traumatic attack, and the child needed more than 100 stitches on her face.  The child was left with a huge gash that ran down the length of her nose, and required surgery.  She may need many more surgeries in the future.

Next week, a judge will decide whether the service dog is a vicious animal.  The family that uses the service dog is appealing to the judge to not to rule the dog as a vicious animal.  According to the family of the little girl, this was the first bite incident involving the dog.  However, according to the family of the victim, the dog should not be returning to the neighborhood at all.

The victims’ family’s concern over this dog is understandable.  This is one decision that will not be easy for the judge to make. 

Service dogs are used by thousands of people with disabilities.  However, it is important to remember that these are animals, and no matter how well they are trained, may react with natural instincts in some circumstances.  Los Angeles dog bite lawyers advise families of service dogs to treat their dogs as working animals, and avoid using them for rough play.


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