Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dog attack leaves Canadian woman needing surgery

A woman from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, remained in serious condition days after being attacked by an aggressive dog behind a building along the town's Main Street. The 45-year-old victim sustained wounds to her face, upper torso and neck in the March 26 incident and had to undergo hours of surgery to repair the damage. Responding officers were able to shoot and kill the dog after a brief struggle, The Chronicle Herald reports.

For the owner of the dog, it is not the first time one of his pets has been involved in such an attack. Nearly three years ago, neighbors of the man described a scene in which another victim was seriously injured by a pair of pit bull-like canines. No charges were filed as a result.

"The poor man, he was bitten from head to somebody took an axe or an ice pick to his whole body," one witness told the news source in 2008.

Though any dog can become aggressive, reports that pit bulls tends to be responsible for the majority of serious incidents. According to the organization, which is a group dedicated to reducing the number of such incidents in the United States, about 1,000 people require emergency care every day to treat a dog bite. Additionally, of the 88 deaths recorded between January 2006 and December 2008, pit bulls were responsible 59 percent of the time.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs each year, children, adults males and other dog owners are the most vulnerable. However, experts say there are a number of ways individuals can prevent dog attacks.

The CDC recommends that parents teach their kids several tips to avoid injury. Chiefly, children should not approach unfamiliar dogs as they tend to be the most unpredictable. Furthermore, if one ever finds oneself in a position where a canine seems aggressive, the CDC suggests remaining motionless and resisting the urge to run, as that may only exacerbate the problem.

For families that are considering bringing a dog into their home, the group also offers some pet safety tips. For starters, spaying or neutering a dog will help reduce aggressive tendencies, and families should never leave infants or young children alone with the pet.

Still, there are some who may be looking for a more substantial way to protect themselves if they happen to come across a potentially aggressive dog. Pepper spray is not just an effective means of personal safety against humans, but it can work on animals too, and can be the perfect defense mechanism for joggers, postal workers or anybody else who may come across a dangerous situation.

While there are a number of animal repellents that offer protection against dogs, pepper spray is considered to be one of the most effective. Perhaps the biggest advantage offered by pepper spray is that it can be used from far away. While other repellents require an individual to get close, most pepper sprays are effective at distances up to 10 feet and provide a strong stream that will temporarily disable a dog.

When carrying pepper spray, experts suggesting keeping it in an easy-to-reach location such as a keychain so that it can be used quickly. Additionally, one may also want to practice with the device beforehand so that if it ever needs to be used, it's done so correctly.  

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