Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Child Protective Services: Pt 1

You have a family that seemingly put this dog over this girl's safety.
John Welsh, Riverside County Dept of Animal Services

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To: US DHHS, Administration for Children and Families
      Region 1: Mary Ann Higgins
      Region 2: Joyce Thomas
      Region 3: David Lett
      Region 4: Carlis Williams
      Region 5: Kent Wilcox
      Region 6: Leon R McCowan
      Region 7:  Patricia Brown
      Region 8: Thomas Sullivan
      Region 9: Sharon Fujii
      Region 10:  Steve Henigson
      Child Welfare League of America, American Humane Association, and dozens of state Child Protective Services officials, and others

The three year old daughter of Jonathan Diaz was attacked by his brother's pit bull.  The child suffered a "disfiguring bite" and received 150 stitches on the left side of her face. This was the second time the child had been attacked by the dog in two months. The pit bull was unlicensed, unneutered, and Diaz could not provide records of inoculations.

Family members told police the child was attacked by a stray dog, and Diaz removed the pit bull from the house to hide it from authorities. "There was a lot of purposeful misinformation that law enforcement received," according to Riverside County Animal Services.

Diaz is currently in jail awaiting drug charges, and has been arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment.The Diaz case may seem to be a rare, isolated event. Sadly, this is not the truth. (See the links below).

According to the March 2012 Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, 52% of the disfiguring attacks on children are by pit bulls, even though they comprise only 3.3% of the dog population.*  Many of these attacks come from well-cared for family pets which have not previously demonstrated aggressive behavior.

Why are tragic events involving pit bull attacks on children escalating?

Public sentiment is in favor of stronger restrictions on fighting breeds, yet pit bull advocacy groups protect these breeds and insist they are suitable family pets. Pit bull advocacy groups intimidate legislators with squads of full-time attorneys and massive public relations campaigns. When it comes to fighting breeds, we can no longer depend on conflicted animal welfare groups nor on legislators vulnerable to the powerful pit bull lobby to protect our children.

We must find another way to protect children in homes which harbor fighting breeds; Child Protective Services (CPS) can lead the way. We urge CPS and Family Service organizations to recognize the existence of a fighting breed dog in a family situation as child endangerment.

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Sources: Father arrested pit bull bites 3 yo daughter (Mar 9, 2012)
              Dog bite leads to child endangerment arrest
              Mom arrested after pit bull attack on daughter (Mar 12, 2012)
              Baby fatally mauled by pit bull

Related post: Letter to Oregon Dept of Child Services

*Statistics are from Dog Attack Deaths & Maimings (Mar 8, 2012), published by Animal People.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks