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In face of vicious dog attack, don't run or scream, vet advises

By Haley Smith | Posted - Feb. 14, 2014 at 7:50 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Within the last year, KSL has covered at least five severe dog attacks, and this week's vicious attack on 6-year-old Wyatt Abraham is number six.

In several of these cases, there was nothing the victims could do to prevent the attack, but there might have been something they could do to help minimize the damage.

Abraham was playing soccer in a neighbor's yard this week when a pit bull's chain snapped and the dog attacked him.

Over the last year, an 11-year old girl was also attacked by a pit bull and had to have reconstructive surgery.

In May, a group of Rottweilers severely injured an 11-year-old boy, and in July a 5-year-old girl was mauled by a neighbor's husky.

How can you protect yourself?

Dr. Rick Campbell, veterinarian and founder of the Willow Creek Pet Center, said he's been working with dogs for more than 30 years and in almost every attack, the dogs are not properly socialized or trained.

"Dogs will always be protective of their surroundings,” Campbell said. "It's what we do with our dogs. If we want them to be good then we train them. We socialize them."

If a dog tries to attack you then you just cover your eyes and stand still. The dog will just think, 'This is boring.'

–Dr. Rick Campbell

But if a person or his or her child is ever caught in a scary situation, Campbell said they need to either become a tree or a log.

"If a dog tries to attack you then you just cover your eyes and stand still,” Campbell said. “The dog will just think, 'this is boring.'"

The dog's owner wrestled the animal off of Wyatt earlier this week, but as Wyatt began to run away, the dog attacked again.

"Do not run," Campbell said. "Do not scream."

If someone is not just approached but attacked by a dog, Campbell said to always keep one's hands over his or her face and ears.

As tragic as these situations are, Campbell said they can be learning experiences for everyone, especially pet owners: "I would encourage training outside of the house,” he said.

Pet owners have a major responsibility, Campbell added. Most dog experts advise owners to not keep their dog on a chain as it only makes them frustrated and more likely to bite someone.


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