Neighbor Rescues Toddler Being Mauled by Dogs

June 7, 2013

Dog bite lawyers at Pintas & Mullins applaud the efforts of a Chicago man who saved a three-year-old from a vicious dog attack. Both the man and the toddler survived the mauling with non-life-threatening injuries.

6993960366_6e16ef27f5.jpg The man, 48-year-old Willie Riley of the South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, was cooking dinner and watching television when he heard a girl, panicked, bang on his back door. She was screaming, trying to alert neighbors that dogs were attacking her three-year-old brother. Riley quickly exited his house and hopped his neighbor's fence when he heard the little boy crying out.

He told reporters that he was nervous to go into the home because he did not know the neighbors very well, but had to once he heard the boy's screams. Riley entered the home armed with a found wooden plank and ran to the rear dining room, where he found two 150 pound dogs attacking the boy. He said it looked like the dogs were trying to pull the boy apart, one biting his leg and the other biting his ear and skull. Riley used the wooden plank to pry the dogs off the defenseless toddler.

Fortunately, Riley lives just across the street from a fire station, where he carried the toddler who was then triaged and treated before being sent to Comer Children's Hospital in an ambulance. The Fire Captain stated that the boy was pretty torn up, with puncture wounds to his ears, torso, and legs. He affirmed that Riley undoubtedly saved the toddler's life.

The little boy and his three sisters were home alone when the attack occurred. Some speculate that one of the dogs may have been predisposed to agitation due to recently giving birth, which may have triggered a reaction against the toddler, who had wandered in the dogs' room. The four children were in Chicago from out of town, visiting an aunt.

The attack occurred on the 7300 block of South Kingston, at a home where at least one dog still remains. We recently reported that, as the summer months ensue, so will incidents of dog attacks. Last month, in May 2013, a woman was killed by a pack of four loose dogs while jogging in California. One month earlier, a double-amputee also passed away from the injuries he sustained during a dog attack. Over the last two years there have been about five fatal dog attacks in California alone.

Nationwide, a total of 13 people died already in 2013 from dog attacks. Dogs traveling in packs, as they were in all three of the above-mentioned attacks, are significantly more dangerous than single dogs. Strange surroundings or strange people, too, can intimidate them, making them more aggressive.

Unfortunately, the elderly and the very young are the most susceptible to serious injuries from dog attacks. Toddlers, like the three-year-old in Chicago, often do not understand the correct ways to approach and play with a dog. If that dog is predisposed to aggression, due to a recent birth or an abusive owner, the young child may unknowingly trigger an attack.

2012 was among the deadliest year in dog maulings in the United States, with more than 35 fatalities. This may be compared to the average rate in the 1980s and 1990s, which remained steadily around 17. One of the most shocking aspects of this trend is that most victims knew the dogs that killed them, or were familiar with them in some way, as the little boy was with his aunt's dogs.

Twenty of the 37 fatalities in 2012 were the dog owners, or the children, grandchildren, or parents of the owner. Chained dogs are of particular worry: since 2003, chained dogs have injured or killed about 450 Americans, the majority of whom were children. Male dogs, especially those who have not been neutered, are significantly more aggressive than females.

Dog bite attorneys at Pintas & Mullins encourage all families to educate themselves on how to avoid and best prevent dog bites. If you or a loved one was seriously injured by an aggressive dog, you have important legal rights, and may be entitled to significant compensation through a lawsuit against the owner or property owner.