Dog bite expert & animal behavior specialist

Richard H. Polsky, PhD, CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”

Dr. Richard Polsky - The Dog Expert

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Fatal Dog Bite from Predatory Dog

Excerpted from a report by Victoria L. Voith in the publication entitled “Procedures for introducing a baby to a dog.” Complete article can be found in Modern Veterinary Practice, 1984, July, 539-541.

“One unfortunate case involves a dog with no known history aggression to people. However, the dog had an unusual background. The original owners had the animal from puppyhood until it was 1.5 y.o., when they gave away or sold the dog because it frequently killed rabbits, squirrels and birds.”

“Five years later, a few months before their second child was born, the original owners came upon the dog, and resume to ownership of it. The dog have been neglected and abused during its five-year absence, but was friendly with family and play with children in the household in neighborhood. However, while the dog was accustomed to small children, it had not been exposed to infants.”

“When the mother return from the hospital with her new baby, she took the precaution of putting the dog outside when she left the baby. A few hours later, the dog was allowed inside and was very attentive to the baby. The infant was in the bassinet and the mothers stepped 6-8 feet away to speak to her husband in the next room. The dog suddenly lead to up, grabbed the baby by the head, carried across the room. It dropped the child as soon as the parents cried, but the baby was fatally injured.”

“This was a particularly sad case because the mother had conscientiously followed the rule of never leaving a dog and a new baby alone. It did not occurred to her (nor would it to most people) that the dog would attacked the infant in her presence, since it was friendly with a children had shown no aggression towards people. Unfortunately, this dog was considerably predatory; Few people are aware that some dogs view infants as potential prey. Before this dog was euthanized, we observe its reaction to small mammals and birds. It consistently tried to chase every small animal it saw.”