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My Dog Bit A Child, What Do I Do Now?

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by doglover12345, May 17, 2018.

  1. doglover12345

    doglover12345 New Member Registered

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    My 10 month old GSD x Border Collie has always been slightly anxious and worried, but she has never actually done anything other than run up to people/dogs and then run back to us (she always comes back when called).

    As we have no children in our family or friends, she has never been fully socialised around them so I am always cautious with them. Again she has never done anything before and is usually fine walking past them, I just ensure she is on a short lead and we give a wide birth.

    Last week on the way back from a walk with the dog walker, as she was crossing the road outside of our house and a few of shops, a young child whizzed past on a scooter and freaked her out so she lunged and may have nipped his bum. The child was screaming and the parent caused a scene. Our dog walker was incredibly apologetic, offered a phone number which wasn't taken and they also saw her go back into our house so they must know where we live.

    Please note, the dog didn't rip the child's clothing, knock him down, and cause any serious harm that we are aware of. At the most possibly just a bruised bum. He was also on the lead.

    Unfortunately we don't know who the woman or child were so have been unable to check on them to apologise (we weren't there at the time).

    The dog pulls on the lead, so we use a head harness which is assumed to be a muzzle (it isn't!). Our dog walker on this occasion hadn't put it on properly and it was only around his neck with the mouth piece hanging down which fuelled the parent even more asking why he has a muzzle (he didn't!) but isn't wearing it.

    We have been expecting a knock on the door from either the parents or the police, but it's been almost a week now and still nothing.

    We have also reported the incident to the police, but they haven't had any reports from the parents and didn't seem to phased by it.

    However the parents have got CCTV footage of it happening and are showing it to local shops asking for witnesses. Which makes me think they are planning to take some action, whether it be police or try to sue us. We don't have pet insurance.

    I have now bought her a soft muzzle, however I am in two minds of using it. I bought it as a preventative measure, but by her wearing it, does that give the parents more ammunition and makes us more liable in admitting she may be a vicious dog?

    Of course I am worried about the worst, which would be for her to be put down. But equally I wouldn't be able to afford to pay thousands in compensation seeing as we live in a world who claim money for just about anything they can!

    We are going to invest in a trainer/behaviourist to iron out the causes of his anxiety and nervousness.

    I feel we have done everything we possibly can as responsible dog owners, however I have no way of contacting the parents and have no idea what actions they are planning to take.

    I am absolutely devastated, and worried sick to my stomach.

    Any advice or likely outcomes are muchly appreciated.
     
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    First advice is contact Trevor Cooper of Dog Law - Cooper & Co |

    Second, check that your dog walker has insurance - she should, and as the dog was with her at the time she really is responsible.

    I am not sure what you mean by a soft muzzle but you really should look at Baskerville types if that is what you want to use on your dog, otherwise the dog can't pant and is at risk of overheating. Muzzles should be introduced as a positive thing - squeezy cheese and meat paste help. I am fairly sure Kikopup has a good one on YouTube.
     
  3. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    I'm sorry this has happened - it must be a terrible worry. But it sounds as if you've done all you can, and the fact that you have reported it to the police will stand you in good stead. Would any of the shops where they've asked for details have made a note of their contact details? If so, that might be a way of getting in touch.

    Collies can have a habit of nipping, and as she wasn't socialised round children her behaviour is understandable. In retrospect maybe you should have hung around school playgrounds at the end of the day when she was a pup so you could have asked parents if their children could meet your pup - but I made exactly the same mistake so my dog isn't fond of children either!

    In the future - keep her muzzled and on lead when there's any chance of meeting children, and keep a wide berth. If you can find a child to work on her behaviour with, so much the better, but it's not always possible to change her attitude to all children - she might just think 'This small person is OK, but I still don't trust those ones.'

    Soft fabric muzzles aren't good - holding the dog's mouth closed so they can't pank or drink is dangerous, and the dog also can't express herself through barking. You really want to find a well-fitting basket muzzle. I'm only used to fitting these to pointy-nosed dogs, but @leashedForLife should be able to give you some advice on this.
     
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  4. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Cross-posted with JoanneF - again!!
     
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  5. doglover12345

    doglover12345 New Member Registered

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    Hi Joanne, unfortunately the dog walker is just a friend doing us a favour so she doesn't have any form of insurance.
     
  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Ok, but still contact Trevor though.
     
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  7. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    Really sorry about this. If your dog didn't cause physical harm then I believe the police (if involved at all) would respond by warning that the dog should be kept under control in future. Do accept other legal advice on offer though. I wouldn't try to contact the 3rd party again- they may be simply trying to extract money from you now! But I would if possible seek a session with a good local dog trainer which then proves you are taking the matter very seriously. Please also take the advice offered here re muzzles. Dogs have been know to die wearing soft muzzles and summer is here! A good well fitted box muzzle will be useful for your dog walker to use on her.
     
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  8. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    Oh @doglover12345 I am sorry to hear about your situation. Especially as you feel so helpless and worried.

    It is very positive that you reported it yourself to the police.

    I think @merlina is correct about gathering some behavioural training asap and also gaining some legal advice so you know where you stand on the matter.

    If the family are going to local shops surely they would have also reported it to the police? if so, surely the police would be able to put two and two together and contact you?
     
  9. doglover12345

    doglover12345 New Member Registered

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    Hi Josie,

    When we reported it to the police they said no reports have been made against us so we are doubly confused as to what they are planning.

    Surely if they were going to the police it would need to be done straight away, not a week later when any marks could have faded if he did actually nip the child?
     
  10. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    .

    It's rather weird & quite concerning to me that the parents are circulating CCTV footage themselves & seeking witnesses, vs the police doing this properly - that sounds more like the start of a social-media witchhunt than a proper investigation. >:--/
    I'd expect to see a petition on-line soon, demanding that I euthanize my "dangerous dog" forthwith, or damning articles in the local paper, or flyers & other public posters with the dog's photo & possibly my address or neighborhood, warning folks to stay well-away from my "vicious" dog, or urging the reader to report sightings or any "threatening actions" by the dog.
    If they had a legitimate grievance, i'd expect them to go to the police after seeking medical attn for their son - not go hunting thru the local shops for questionable witnesses.

    That said, here's the bad news, IMO -
    "not seeing damage" to the child's clothing doesn't mean diddly, unfortunately. Bites can cause crush injuries to covered tissue without visible damage to any fabric covering the bite area, & punctures to fabric, especially on a fast-moving kid's buttock, are unlikely to be seen in the heat of the moment.
    So despite the friend's statement, the kid COULD have shallow punctures & / or crush injuries, such as a developing haemotoma within 12 to 24-hrs of the bite. // U just don't know - only a proper physical exam would determine if there were injuries, & only a qualified practitioner [Med-Dr, Phys'n Asst, RN, etc] could say how serious they were.
    If there'd been a severe bite, blood would have run down the boy's leg & there'd be no Q of "if". As it stands, U can't be sure, & must assume that teeth met skin.
    Also, infection can develop in any bite, however shallow, & even crush injuries under unbroken skin can develop into cellulitis. So U can't assume no injury was done.

    I'm going to refer U to the Dunbar bite-scale -
    http://apdt.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ian-dunbar-dog-bite-scale.pdf

    Note that Level 1 bites have NO DIRECT SKIN CONTACT or if they make contact, leave no mark whatever - those are bites thru clothing, or bites to garments or accessories or skin, that are threatening, but leave no trace.
    A dog who growls at me & air-snaps is a Level 1 bite; so is a dog who stiffens when i handle them & grabs my arm without breaking skin or causing a bruise. Level 1 bites that make contact leave saliva - nothing else.
    Please read the bite-scale link fully, as it includes probable prognoses & also required B-Mod for the various Levels of bites.

    I posted photos elsewhere of properly-fitted vs badly-fitting box muzzles - i'll go hunt them up. :)
    This meanwhile is how U introduce & precondition a muzzle:


    Notice that this ACD is still giving the stranger the hairy eyeball, while happily & eagerly interacting with the muzzle - the trainer's timing is excellent, she limits her reach & doesn't chatter at the dog, she lets the clicker do most of the talking [she does explain to the owner what she's doing & why].

    later,
    - terry

    .
     
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  11. Josie

    Josie Administrator Administrator Registered

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    I really hope for your sake they are not the kind of people that start a ‘witch hunt’ against you. It can all get blown out of proportion so quickly.

    Is it worth speaking to the police again? Keep note of all you have done.

    All I would say is make sure you cover yourself from all angles. It sounds to me like you are doing this already.

    It is clear to see that you are concerned about the incident. You are not dismissive and you are actively trying to make sure it never happens again.

    Don’t beat yourself up over it too much. Just be thankful that it wasn’t worse and that you can nip this behaviour in the bud.

    @leashedForLife offers some great advice
     
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  12. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    For me there seem to be several lessons to be learned
    A, your dog walker cannot be trusted to walk your dog again. They have no insurence and did not walk your dog properly.
    B your dogs needs some help NOW so get a behaviourist or trainer on board.This will also stand you in good stead should any police enquiry progress.
    C you need to get legal advice to protect yourself and your dog.
    D get public liability insurence .At least then you will be protected should money get involved in any future altercations with others dogs/people/cars etc damage to property or person.
    E never never trust children. They come out of nowhere, often they have no idea how to behave around dogs and they are often uncontrolled.
     
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  13. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    here's one set of 3 photos, 1 properly fitted, & 2 too short & / or too narrow muzzles:

    Turns really vicious over foraged food

    Note the strap over the properly-fitted Lab's head - that prevents the dog thumbing the basket off, & freeing their face. If the muzzle U choose lacks this, it's not hard to add one - a half-inch wide strip of latigo leather sewn onto the top bar of the muzzle, SEAM OUTWARD away from the dog's skin, is easy.
    The dog's tag-collar is moved to as high a position as is comfortable, to allow the muzzle head-strap to thread onto it; it's not sagging halfway-down the neck, it's up high & fits like a watchband, smooth & snug with no slack.

    Puncture the latigo with an icepick or similar tool, from above & below, to start the holes for sewing; U poke the pick into the dent made from the other side, that's the underside marker to make the holes top & bottom in the same place. Use a fat needle with a large eye, threaded with any dental floss, to sew it. // . 3 holes across a half-inch width is plenty, & don't forget to bring the floss thru the outside holes, AROUND the outside edge, & thru the same hole from the other side, to strengthen that outside edge.
    End the sewing with a good square-knot, then melt the knot slightly over a match or lighter's flame to prevent it un-knotting. U don't want to see color-change, only a slight alteration from opaque white to translucent in the appearance of the floss. :) Done!
    The other end is sewn into a flat loop, again seam OUTWARD, & sew over the outside edges; the loop is sized to fit over the dog's regular buckle-collar [their tag collar] to secure it.
    If U can sew on a button, have dental floss, an icepick, & a needle, once U get the measurements [mark the loop with a safety-pin, being very very careful to have YOUR HAND under the strap to prevent sticking the dog!], it takes maybe 30-mins of stitching, at most.

    This post covers the medical hazards of tube AKA groomers' muzzles -
    Muzzles

    It includes photos of various muzzles, & ONLY ONE OF THEM is safe - the basket on the Malinois, top row, left.
    Even entirely-mesh models are not safe - it's not a patent airway for a stressed dog. :( They speedily overheat.

    I'll get some new pics of well-fitted vs ill-fitted or poorly-made muzzles, later - I must go downtown to pick up my Vermont farmers' co-op delivery.

    - terry

    .
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  14. leashedForLife

    leashedForLife Well-Known Member Registered

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    rather than good vs bad fit, here's a good model, readily available -

    Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 11.27.06 AM.png Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 11.27.40 AM.png

    it's the Baskerville Ultra - note the strap over his head. :)

    to my eye, it's a little too short over his foreface, & i'd also like to see him OPEN HIS MOUTH to be sure the foreface doesn't limit his gape - i want a wide-open patent airway for panting. // I think his needs more interior depth, top to bottom, as well as interior length, front to back.

    - terry
    ,
     
  15. Nanny71

    Nanny71 Well-Known Member Registered

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    I am sorry this has happened. I would not be too happy if a dog bit my child especially a large dog. Having said that two of my grandchildren have been bitten by family dogs. Both requiring sutures, no one got sued in fact we blamed the children not the dogs. If the dog had kept hold of the child that would be another matter. A nip is a different matter and usually due to dog being startled. That was what happened with my grandchildren. Not Dudley by the way
     
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