‘As a mum and legal professional, here’s what pet owners can learn from Kamillah’s death.’

kamillah

As a parent it’s physically and emotionally impossible to convey the gut-wrenching emotions you feel when your vulnerable child is in any sort of danger.

My heart bled when I heard news of little Kamillah’s passing over the weekend due to a dog attack and like any parent, I couldn’t help but ask the question; what if that was my child?

Research by Flinders University shows that in 2013-14, nearly 4,000 people in Australia were hospitalised as a result of dog-related injuries and the problem is far from being fixed.

The study found that dog-related injuries were most common among children, with 689 children aged zero to nine hospitalised in that year alone.

It’s a conversation that truly polarises the public. In Australia, we love our pets but how dangerous is it to love them at the risk of your children’s safety?

One only needs to look as far as the news in the past week to realise it’s time action is taken to protect children and adults alike from dog attacks. This needs to happen now to help prevent further injuries and tragedies taking place across our nation.

Video by Seven

It’s rare that a dog will act out randomly and animals tend to have a history of being menaces in the local area before any attack takes place.

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As a mother, I’m now extra vigilant when walking the streets, keeping one eye on any new dog to the neighbourhood and assessing its temperament.

Of course my little one wants to stroke the cute doggie, and the smile it puts on her face is always a picture, but it’s reached the point where apprehension clouds my enjoyment of her smile.

I know in the back of my mind that not all dogs are bad, the vast majority are mild-mannered and are more likely to lick than bite – but it only takes a second for normality to turn to tragedy.

I want to speak directly to every pet owner in Australia. Please take seriously the responsibility that comes with owning a dog. Take care of the basics. It’s our civil duty to one another.

Dog safety is the responsibility of the owner and they should all take proactive steps to ensure this is the case; from making sure their pet is secured, through to obedience classes if necessary. These simple steps could help avert further tragedies and a potential law suit.

I never want to be in a position where I’m fearing for the safety of my child and I know all parents are the same.

Dogs make tremendous family pets, but when they are mistreated or abused, that ugly nature becomes a way of life for them and they know no better. We, as humans, do, however.

Dogs are impressionable and we need to make sure we’re treating them in the right way.

When did we start treating dogs like our children? The Mamamia Out Loud team discuss. Post continues after audio.

In the end, a dog owner needs to take full responsibility for their pet and its actions, and people should know that they may be liable for damage done to a person or property.

Residents concerned by the actions of a dog living nearby or in the local area should contact their local council and/or police.

If the dog’s deemed dangerous, certain orders can be made to ensure the ongoing control of the animal. In reporting a dangerous dog, you could actually be saving a human’s life as well as the dog’s.

In every case, prevention is better than the cure.

No mother can bear the thought of their child viciously mauled to death. Nor can our consciences bear the thought that we had the knowledge and the tools to prevent tragedy.

Act promptly. You may be saving a life in the process… your child, or someone else’s.

You can support Kamillah’s family by donating to their GoFundMe page.

Wendy Nixson is Shine Lawyers’ General Manager for Brisbane and South West.

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