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Family Akita Attacks Preschool Boy. Are Akitas Dangerous?

Family Akita Attacks Preschool Boy. Are Akitas Dangerous?

By Liz Dorland. CREATED Jan 23, 2012

Omaha, NE - A vicious attack by a family dog leads to new questions about the breed.  It is common to hear controversies surrounding Pit Bulls all the time, but this time the dog is an Akita. 
KMTV Action 3 News went to the experts to learn just how dangerous Akita's are. 

6-year old Dax paced in doggy jail Monday afternoon.  The Akita has never been in trouble with the law before,  but now Dax is marked with orange stripe to warn volunteers this family pet viciously bit little Keegan.  4-year old Keegan is still in the hospital with stitches in his face.

Mark Langan with the Nebraska Humane Society said, "We have not pin pointed the reason, what caused the dog to bite the 4-year old boy. Everybody was at home. Everybody was in close proximity to each other and for some reason the dog decided to bite the boy in the face."

A recent study done by the CDC shows nearly more than 4 and a half million people are bit in the U.S each year.  According to PetInsurance101.com the worst offenders are: Doberman Pinscher, Husky, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute, Rottweiler, Boxer and Chow Chow.   Lots of popular breeds, but no Akita. 

Valerie Poulton specializes in dog behavior at the Nebraska Humane Society.  Poulton said, "You can't attribute specific behaviors to specific dogs anymore."

Poulton showed us a special list that shows when dogs feel comfortable and when they aren't.   Poulton said when dogs tense up their mouths are closed.  "The dogs eyes are a little bit harder. Here we have a dog doing what we call a 'Lip Lick', which is a dog appeasing sign basically saying I'm very uncomfortable with this situation," explained Poulton.

The behavior expert added, "The dog is saying 'I'm uncomfortable' by being stiff, looking away putting the ears back and we're not reading that then they might escalate to growing and they might bite."

Poulton said dogs also don't like to be hugged, it can be a sign of aggression.

But kids love dogs right?   Well, Valerie says any dog, any breed can turn on a child.   Jumping on a dog, pulling hair, ears, tail might seem like good fun.  The dog can see it as aggression. Getting to know how a dog thinks, can help save a child like Keegan and a loved family pet like Dax.

Little Keegan is in good condition and is expected to go home soon.

If you are having behavior problems with your dog you can call the Behavior Helpline at the Humane Society.  That number is 402-905-3421 or visit www.nehumanesociety.org.


Reported By: Liz Dorland, ldorland@action3news.com