The fatal incident took place in Detroit on Wednesday as a mum and child were on their way to volunteer at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School.
The Detroit Free Press covered this horrendous attack where 4-year-old Xavier Strickland was dragged by pit bulls out of his mum’s grasp, under a fence and mauled him as the mum looked on helplessly.
The young boy died at the hospital.
Xavier’s 9-year-old sister was attacked by the same dogs last month. Thankfully, only her coat and book bag was damaged in that attack. Xavier’s uncle, Ramone Cage recounted to the Free Press that “This is not the first incident where the dogs almost got one of her children”.
Authorities state that while there have been complaints about stray dogs in the vicinity, officers were unable to find any strays when they investigated. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, the executive director and health officer for the Detroit Health Department, which is in charge of the city’s animal control states that there has been no reports of dog attacks before this incident.
While not all animals are vicious and are aggressive or attack on sight, it is vital to educate your child about animal safety to prevent the possibility of such an incident occurring. This is especially so when you wish to get a pet for your child.
Having a pet does not mean you get a trained inhuman killer. Children with pets learn nurturing skills, a boost in self-esteem and a partner who unconditionally loves them. After all, the phrase “dogs are man’s best friend” is not baseless.
That does not mean that parents should rush out and grab a random dog or cat for your child. Like any other endeavour it is essential to note certain things before getting a friend that you have to take care of.
Here are some simple rules to take note of and prevent your child from being hurt:
- Do not leave your child alone with an animal. Accidents happen
- Do not go close to an animal when he or she is having a meal, sleeping, chewing on a toy or grooming
- Do not be rough on animals, never touch it from where it cannot see you, and always treat it gently
- Do not startle the animal with loud noises or sudden movements
- Always ask an adult or the owner before approaching an animal you are not familiar with
- When told the animal is friendly, reach our with your palm facing up and slowly move it towards the animal’s nose for sniffing
- Do not touch the animal’s sensory organs or genitals
- Animal waste can transfer diseases. Note that cat’s litter boxes looks rather similar to a mini-sandbox; do not let children come in contact with animal waste
- Watch your child and do not let him or her come near a dog while the dog is highly excited – when the dog is barking, eating or in the presence of strangers
Do take note of all these rules to keep your child safe!