Small children may assume that any animal is probably their friend. A dog in the park or even an animal at a house you are visiting could present an invitation to play. Children are often eager to pet and get to know dogs of all sizes and breeds.
Unfortunately, the dogs do not always share that sentiment. Some dogs can be downright vicious toward children, while others may become aggressive when a child unintentionally provokes them by touching a favorite toy or approaching their food dish.
Dog attacks are common traumatic childhood events. The luckiest kids in these scenarios receive only minor flesh wounds. Other children may have to deal with much more serious consequences. Dog bites can result in permanent physical disfigurement and lasting emotional trauma for the victims of the attack. Young children may be particularly susceptible to trauma responses after a dog bite.
Bites in prominent places can leave visible scars
Scars aren’t just perceived as unattractive. They are also constant reminders of the injury that led to the scar. When a child suffers a dog bite, there is potential for severe scarring. Even small dogs can cause major damage to a child’s hands, face or other body parts.
Plastic surgery has come a long way in recent years. It may be possible, over time, for doctors to completely repair the damage a child received from a vicious dog. However, that may require multiple surgeries and ongoing treatment of the scars with medication or special silicone bandages.
Many families may struggle to cover the costs of these treatments. Even those with insurance may find that their policy does not cover cosmetic procedures. No family should have to choose between physically restoring their child and financial stability. A dog bite shouldn’t affect your family for years.
Emotional wounds from dog bites can last for a lifetime
After being bitten by a dog, some children can experience changes in moods or personality. They may become more afraid of other dogs or scared of going out in public. Depending on the nature of the attack, they may avoid parks or not want to visit other people’s homes. Some children simply develop cynophobia, a fear of dogs. Others develop post-traumatic stress disorder, which can persist for many years and make it more difficult for them to regulate their emotions in stressful situations.
Counseling and therapy are often the best resources for children attempting to overcome the emotional consequences of an animal attack. Your family may not have the resources to pay for the therapy your child needs. You may want to take steps to hold the owner of the dog financially responsible for the injuries it caused. It may be time to look more closely at the protections offered under Connecticut law for victims of vicious dogs.