Fireworks 'spook' killer dog

Tragedy struck in the UK as a rescue dog allegedly pounced on a four-year-old girl playing with it and mauled her to death, sparking speculation that the animal had been spooked by a local fireworks display, reported the Daily Mail.

The child’s mother desperately tried to release her child from the jaws of the French mastiff, a huge dog they’d rescued from a charity only four weeks previously. The mother had found the dog on an internet site advertising rescued animals. She even tried stabbing the dog in order to free her child, but the girl later died in hospital. The dog died on the scene from the stab wounds.

According to friends, the dog had been abused by a previous owner and it may have been alarmed by a local fireworks display, triggering the fatal attack. The dog was being kept in a complex where residents were not allowed to have dogs.

The tragic event touches on two important safety issues: Fireworks being used near residential areas and rescue dogs being given to inappropriate social environments.

Dogs, fireworks and family

Most dogs are safe to have around small children providing that the animals are trained and looked after and that the children are also taught how to care for them and treat them with respect. When an animal is neglected or even abused (trained to fight).

Rescued dogs can make fantastic family pets, although a family looking to adopt one should consider the following:
  • Using a respected rescue agency which will perform a background check on the environment into which a dog may be adopted (house visit).
  • Adopting a dog which has been sterilised in order to prevent unwanted litters of puppies.
  • Adopting a breed or mixed breed suitable for small children.
  • NOT adopting a dog via the classifieds sections of newspapers or internet sites from individuals- these animals may have severe behavioural problems which require intense attention or may be chronically ill.
  • Respect that it takes time for a dog to adjust to a new home and make sure that you help the dog settle in.
Sparks of fury

Fireworks are only legal under certain conditions. Organised displays require permission from local councils and should take place away from residential areas.

Each year around the beginning of November many families report that their pets have been traumatised or run away in a panic as a result of fireworks being let off in residential gardens or streets. There are frequently stories of animal abuse taking place at this time when sadistic people deliberately maim animals using fireworks.

A dog which has panicked at the noise (dogs have much more sensitive ears than humans) may bite people trying to help it or even run into traffic if it becomes disorientated. Dogs frightened by fireworks may then be unjustly blamed for attacks or damaged vehicles.

Many owners get medication from vets to keep their animals calm during fireworks season.

Based on this tragic story, if you suspect your child may be in danger from a dog which panics at fireworks, consider keeping small children and dogs separate for a couple of days during this period.

The trauma fireworks cause for dogs is so great that there is a call from many are calling for a total ban on fireworks, although some cultures use fireworks as part of festivals and celebrations.

11 tips for when dog meets baby

Would you adopt a dangerous dog?

Should fireworks be banned?
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