Henrico police warn families of recent dog attacks, after children were seriously hurt
HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Henrico County Police is warning families of recent animal attacks after a number of children were bitten by dogs.
The Henrico Police Animal Protection Unit reported three incidents in the past two months of a dog causing serious injuries to a child in the home.
In 2021, there were 51 deadly dog attacks across the United States. Henrico Police said 19 of the victims were children between the ages of 1-month-old to 13-years-old.
“No matter how well you may think you know your dog, it’s impossible to know how they may react in any given situation,” said Henrico police in a PSA.
In the last year, Henrico received over 600 reports for bites and scratches by dogs and cats.
Tim Joyner, the Director of Admissions and Education at the Richmond SPCA, said a dog’s behavior can change over time.
“Your dog may like something when it’s two years old, but feel very differently about those same interactions when they’re eight or nine,” he said.
Over 35% of dog bites involve a dog biting a family member, according to Henrico police.
“Dog bites happen more frequently in a home environment than they do even with strangers,” said Joyner.
He said to protect your family, supervise your children while they’re with pets and don’t bother animals during certain times of the day.
“Don’t interact with the dogs while they’re eating their food or playing with a favorite toy and sometimes even sleeping in a favorite bed,” he said. “That’s another one we see a lot is waking up dogs that are asleep and just like people dogs, don’t like to be woken up.”
Joyner added that while in public, a person should always ask an owner for permission before approaching a pet.
A lot of people get bit by dogs while dogs are fighting each other, Joyner added.
Instead of reaching your arm in between them, Joyner suggested distracting them with a loud noise and creating physical space between them.