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A Rash Of Dog Bites

July 16, 2009, 5:56 PM by Don Jorgensen

A Rash Of Dog Bites
There's been a rash of dogs bites in Sioux Falls lately.  So far this year, police say 261 people have been bitten by animals, mostly dogs, and one of the latest victims is a 16-month-old child.

Even though it's been almost a week, you can still see the bite marks on little Emma's head and face. Last Friday, a St. Bernard bit her while she played in her front yard. 

"I could see she had a big knot coming out on her head where she was bitten on her forehead and blood on the side of her head and blood in the crease of her eye," mother Hilary Mason said.

The dog was on a leash, which is the law in Sioux Falls. 

"In this case, she was petting it and it was licking her, not acting aggressive at all, then it barked and lunged at her," Mason said.

Emma's bite marks and bleeding were only half the concern. 

"Emma was faced with finding the dog and making sure it had its shots or possibly getting the painful series of rabies shots and as a 16 month old, that's the last thing you want as mom," Mason said.

Thankfully, the dog was up to date on its shots. But officers say this is a painful reminder for all dog lovers.

"If you see a stray dog don't approach it, just call animal control or the police department to help you out," animal control officer Missy John said.

And when the dog is on a leash... 

"First thing you always want to do is ask the owner, but even then dogs can be protective and get scared so you make sure you talk to the owner see if it's okay to pet the dog and even then sometimes, it's just best to admire from afar," John said.

A lesson little Emma had to learn the hard way. 

"She is actually afraid of dogs now to a certain extent," Mason said.

Police want to remind dog owners there is a leash law in the city and if your dog ever bites someone, by law, you must also report it to police.

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