Wake-up call for the island: Dog Bites

Wake-up call for the island: Dog Bites

By Dr. M.E.C. Tilanus, M.D./ paediatrician.

Again the people of St. Maarten could read once more recently in the news about the horrific consequences of a young lady being severely injured after being attacked by a dog.

This incident counts as the 2nd major incident of a person that needed to be hospitalised. Back in 2016 the Daily Herald reported about a young infant (8 months old) that succumbed in the St Maarten Medical Center following a fatal dog attack in the kitchen of his own home, in the presence of his grandparents.

Dog bites incidents are something the happen globally with statistics from the dog bite resource centre, here are some striking numbers from these resources:

  • According to the Center For Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year; around 800,000 of those bites result in the need for medical care.
  • A study done by the Dogbite resource center in 2020 showed that a total of 46 fatal (including 15 children) dog attacks were reported in the United States
  • Overview study from 2005 to 2020 demonstrates that canines killed 568 Americans (Pit bulls contributed in 67% of cases).

In 2020 in total 85 people sustained severe injuries to the extent that evaluation in the Emergency Room of the SMMC was needed.

On the French side of our island thing are not looking to well either: according to the physicians from the Louis Fleming Hospital: on average 2 patients per day are being treated for (severe) dog related injuries (young and old individuals).

It becomes clear that drastic changes have to take place. And there are things that can be done. Last year me myself held a presentation on dog bites for the people of Belair in the Belair Community Center.

In this presentation not only the life-long devastating injuries and psychological trauma were highlighted following serious dog bites, but also we looked into what practical solutions could be implemented. It all starts with responsible behaviour of dog owners.

Here is a list of recommendations:

1) Dogs are allowed to walk freely on the property of the dog owner, however proper fencing must be present. The fencing should be checked by for example a community officer (police). Dogs should not be able to escape their property at any moment.

2) Dogs should never be allowed to be taken off the leash at any moment.

3) Certain breeds of dogs must were a muzzle when walking (on a leash) in public.

4) Any person that refuses to comply with these rules must be fined and or prosecuted in a court of law.

5) New legislations with more options to penalize should be considered.

6) Police officers from each designated community must undergo an additional training and be more aware of the dangers.

7) Roaming dogs should be taken of the street and a certain dog facility must be established to receive them, to provide them with proper care.

8) Proper registration of incidents to monitor the trend.

I sincerely hope that the government of St. Maarten will take this news seriously and that something will be done before we need to count more fatalities in the near future.

The Daily Herald

Copyright © 2020 All copyrights on articles and/or content of The Caribbean Herald N.V. dba The Daily Herald are reserved.

Without permission of The Daily Herald no copyrighted content may be used by anyone.

Comodo SSL

Hosted by

© 2024 The Daily Herald. All Rights Reserved.