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Wisconsin man starts dog awareness campaign after tragedy strikes

Considering the total population of dogs in America, the total of non-fatal dog bites probably number in the thousands. The true figure is often hard to determine precisely because many of those attacks aren't even reported. However, according to a website called Dogbite.org, 32 people died last year as a result of injuries sustained from dog bites. Sadly, over half of those deaths were victims under the age of seven.

Who is accountable when such tragedy strikes? Who should be held liable to pay for hospital visits and other medical treatment in the aftermath of the attack? What steps can people take to prevent such injuries in the first place? Nearly a year has passed since an East Troy couple had to ask those same questions. The couple's 14-month-old infant, Daxton, was under the supervision of the family's babysitter when he was fatally attacked by two dogs the babysitter and her boyfriend had raised from puppies.

Months later, the couple was still grieving the loss of their young son when they learned of another dog attack. This time, a pit bull had attacked a 15-month old child in Racine County. The couple decided to start a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of dog bites and dog attacks. According to its founders, Daxton's Friends for Canine Education and Awareness doesn't seek to vilify certain breeds of dogs; its goal is to prevent more tragedies.

The group hopes to track the statistics surrounding each dog bite incident, including the type of dog breed and the age of the person involved in the attack. The group also hopes to provide a clearinghouse of reliable information, which parents of young children can consult when they are trying to determine which type of dog they should introduce to their family.

Ultimately, dog attacks can never be totally eliminated. As long as dogs coexist alongside humans, the potential for something to go wrong will always be present. However, dog owners can take reasonable steps to mitigate their risks. Those who have been injured in an animal attack may want to seek compensation from the responsible party through the civil courts.

Source: Star Tribune, "Son's death in dog attack prompts Wisconsin father to form canine-education group" Anna Marie Lux, Mar. 10, 2014

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