Fatal Dog Attack Takes the Life of Toddler

In Ellabell, Georgia, the Wednesday before Easter Sunday, a young toddler was killed when seven dogs fatally mauled the child in her own backyard. The girl had slipped out of the house unnoticed by her mother and other adults inside the house until it was too late.

According to Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith, the victim, who would have turned two-years-old this June, had crawled out the doggy door and into the fenced-in yard where she was fatally attacked by seven dogs. According to the sheriff, by the time the small child's grandmother heard the dogs barking and looked outside to see what was happening, the girl was already dead and her clothing was in shreds spread all over the yard. According to authorities, the seven dogs were all pit bulls and pit bull mixes; Animal Control officers euthanized all seven of the dogs after the deadly attack Wednesday evening.

Dog Bite Facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dogs bite more than 4.7 million people every year, and experts believe that public education can help prevent dog bites and attacks. Each year, approximately 800,000 Americans seek medical attention after being bitten by a dog, and sadly half of these are children. Of those attacked by dogs, 386,000 require treatment in an emergency room and approximately 16 die. The age group at the highest risk is children ages 5 to 9 years, and the rate decreases as children age. For children ages four years and younger, nearly two-thirds of their dog bite injuries are sustained to the neck or head region, and injury rates among children are much higher for boys than girls. (CDC) In order to prevent dog bites, especially among children, the CDC recommends that parents educate their children on the following safety tips:

  • Do not approach a dog you do not know.
  • Do not run from a dog or scream.
  • Remain still when an unfamiliar dog approaches.
  • If you are knocked over by a dog, roll into a ball and lie still.
  • Do not play with a dog unless you have adult supervision.
  • Avoid making direct eye contact with a dog.
  • Don't disturb a sleeping dog, a dog that is eating or caring for puppies.
  • Do not pet a dog until after you've allowed it to sniff you first.

Georgia has countless homes with wide open spaces where dogs roam freely. This can be a particularly worrisome issue, especially for parents of small children. Georgians love their dogs, they bring them along with them when hunting, they use them to protect their farm animals and to protect their property from intruders, and most dog owners view their dogs as members of the family. Unfortunately, dogs are still animals with animal instincts and with the example of the recent death of the 21-month-old toddler in Ellabell; dogs can even turn on their own family members.

If you or someone you love has been bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog, you are urged to contact a Marietta dog bite attorney from Jones & Swanson right away. After reviewing the facts of your case, we can explain your rights under Georgia's dog bite laws and we can determine if you have a claim to compensation for you losses. No one, especially a child should have to suffer permanent scarring, broken bones, soft-tissue injuries, disfigurement or worse, death because of a dog bite or attack; please contact us today for trustworthy advice about how to proceed forward with your claim.