The owner of a dog that attacked a two-year-old girl on Friday in Melbourne and left her hospitalised has defended her pet, downplaying reports that the dog mauled the toddler.
Victoria Police confirmed to media on Friday that the child was attacked at a Rennie Street property in Coburg in Melbourne’s inner north before being rushed to the Royal Children’s Hospital with facial injuries. Reports at the time claimed the two-year-old had been mauled, but the owner of the staffordshire terrier said it was nothing more than a nip.
Speaking to the Herald Sun, the dog’s owner and aunt of the child attacked said the two-year-old was playing with her pet in the lounge room when the dog “accidentally nipped her on the cheek”.
“I grabbed her and she hit her head on my shoulder which how she got the bruises on her face,” the woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald Sun.
She also explained that her niece is now out of hospital and is at home doing fine, but insisted the dog wouldn’t be in her home if it were dangerous, saying: “Believe me, had the dog done any worse, then he wouldn’t be here, I would’ve killed him.” she said.
Still, she confirmed that the local council may still investigate what happened.
The latest dog attack had sparked debate with Starts at 60 readers, who have offered possible solutions for the spike in vicious attacks. One comment on Facebook read: “Someone has to take responsibility for this. The dog or the guardians.”
Another person said: “I often wonder what’s in the dog food these days, a lot of the crap that go into our food makes us sick, never had all these strange illnesses years ago with all our fresh veggies and great quality meat.”
A third added: “1. What was the child doing alone with the dog? 2. What was the child doing to the dog to make it react as it did?” while a further comment read: “People who own dogs that attack should be fined. Heavily!!! How else do we stop this epidemic? Is it the breed or the mentality of the owner? We all had dogs as kids, but never heard of a dog attack!”
It’s not the first dog attack to make headlines in recent times, with a 61-year-old man mauled to death by his dog just last month. Similar to the recent attack, the family of the American staffy described the dog as “precious” and “not a vicious dog”.
Meanwhile, Dogs Victoria previously warned pet owners that any dog has the capacity to be unpredictable.
According to the latest statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 4,000 people were hospitalised in Australia in 2013 and 2014 as a result of a dog-related injury – a rate of 17 cases per 100,000 population. Men are more likely than women to be involved in a dog attack, but dog-related injuries were found to be most common in children.
More than 90 per cent of hospitalisations were due to dog bites with the wrists, hand and head the most likely body parts to be injured, while a quarter of hospitalisations for over-65s was due to a person being struck by a dog.