The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that dogs bite almost 4.5 million people per year. Nearly half of those attacks are from dogs that belong to neighbors, friends, or even family. This was the case with a service dog for a nine-year old girl who was struggling with cancer in River Vale Township. The dog bit a six-year-old neighbor, giving her a gash that went from her forehead to her nose. The child needed more than 100 stitches to close the wound. She also needed to receive therapy for post-traumatic stress.
Children are easily hurt by a dog bite. Because of their small size, the wound caused by a bite can damage a larger part of a child’s face or hands, two of the most common attack areas. The risk of infection from dog bites is always high, creating especially dangerous wounds.
The trauma this child suffered illustrates another danger for children. Since they are still developing emotionally, they are at greater risk for trauma following a dog bite. A study at Beijing University found that between five and twenty-five percent of children who are bitten by dogs develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. However, even absent full-blown PTSD, the fear and anxiety that a child feels after a dog bite can have a serious effect on emotional growth.
By all accounts, this story provides a lesson in the dangers that dogs can pose to children and an incentive for parents to add an additional layer of supervision when dogs are present. If your child is bitten by a dog severely enough to require medical attention, be sure the report the incident to the police. New Jersey has very strict laws governing vicious and aggressive dogs.
Contact a personal injury attorney with expertise in dog bite claims to ensure that you receive fair compensation from the dog owner.