When envisioning dog bite cases most people think of poor, underfed, mistreated animals taking out their aggression on innocent passers-by. That scenario does play out all across the country, especially as a result of owners who train their dogs to be aggressive. Unfortunately, sometimes dog bites happen in an instant when and where people least expect it. Nephi Selu was playing at home with his cousins and with the family dog. Sadly these everyday family activities took a turn for the worse. According to the San Francisco Gate:
“The dog, a 2-year-old male pit bull mix named Kava, attacked Nephi Selu at a home on Elizabeth Way about 11:30 a.m. Monday where he lived with his extended family, which includes seven cousins, police and family said.
“It sounds like they were engaged in some type of horseplay with the dog. The boy was actively playing with the dog and may have attempted to climb onto the dog’s back,” said police Cmdr. Ben Horner. “We think he may have been trying to ride it, like a little horse. The dog attacked the boy and bit him on top of his head.” Relatives quickly pried the dog off Nephi, but he died at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford shortly after 4 p.m. Monday. The dog was quarantined at the Tri-City Animal Shelter in Fremont. A preliminary investigation determined that the dog was properly licensed and had its required antirabies inoculation, Horner said. The dog’s fate is uncertain – it could be euthanized or be sent to a rehabilitation center, authorities said. The family says it wants nothing to do with the dog.” – SFGate
It’s well known that pitbulls have the capacity for violent acts and can be trained to lethal ends. However, the breed of the dog is not consequential in this case. What happened here was a child accidentally crossing a line and making the dog feel threatened or hurt. The dog’s reaction was entirely instinctual to protect itself. Unfortunately, the force pitbulls are able to generate is serious and the trauma from the injury was enough to be fatal. By all accounts from neighbors and family this was not a dog with a history of violence. That’s an important takeaway for any dog owner who happens to be reading this article. Family dogs may be domesticated, but they still have formidable instincts. Think about what happens when a person is stung by a bee. They yelp and slap down at the area being stung, trying to get the bee off of them. Dogs have similar reactions to be prodded or hurt, but their only recourse is to bite. If you have children, be sure to monitor their behavior around your family dog or the dogs of others. No matter how docile the animal, and no matter how clean the animal’s history for biting, you never know when that line might be crossed.