Outside of Savannah, Georgia, a 2 year old girl was mauled to death by her family’s seven dogs while her mother, grandmother, and the rest of her family was inside the house. The girl, Monica Renee Laminack, slipped into the backyard through a doggy door, unnoticed by the adults in the house.
The seven pit bull and pit bull mixes immediately attacked the little girl. Her clothes, diaper, and shoes were found shredded and strewn across the yard.
Police say it was the grandmother of the little girl who first found the barking suspicious, and brought attention to what was going on in the backyard. The 18 year old mother of the girl did not act in time to save her daughter.
Police officers who responded to the incident say that they expect criminal charges to be filed. At the minimum, child neglect charges will be brought, though the family says the dogs were never aggressive and that the toddler girl had a good relationship with them. The officers said there was no evidence that they had been used as fighting dogs, but the dogs were euthanized immediately.
This is a horrendous reminder of the fact that even family pets can act unpredictably, and dogs and children should never be left unattended. Breeds such as pit bulls have aggressive tendencies, and one should never assume that just because a dog has not acted out before, that he will never act out. Especially with such a large number of dogs, one dog’s aggressive act can turn into a pack mentality, resulting in a tragedy such as this one. Read more about dog bite and attacks here.
This tragic story also highlights the dangers of dog doors. Toddlers can easily slip out through dog doors and be exposed to a variety of dangers, all while the parents have no idea that the child is out of their control. Toddlers can be exposed to the family dog without supervision, or can fall into a pool and drown. Of the hundreds of such incidences that have occurred in the past several years, nearly 75% of them have been fatal.
Even though the dog door might appear too small for your child to fit through, the average pet door is 8 x 11 inches. A large 3 year old boy weighing even 40 lbs can easily fit through this opening.
Hopefully at some point soon, manufacturers will build in better safeguards to prevent children from being able to fit through these doors. But until then, consider closing up your pet doors if you have small children. While you may miss the convenience, it is a small price to pay for knowing your child can not slip out and fall into unintended danger.
If your child or loved one has been injured in a dog bite attack, or has been injured by a defective product, a personal injury attorney at Kirkendall Dwyer LLP can help. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free case review.