Humane society: Rise in animal bites related to social distancing

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) –The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society says the dog that bit a baby boy to death last week in Hartford has been put down. The Belgian Malinois attacked the 6-week old child last Thursday. The boy later died at the hospital. The humane society says the dog was euthanized at the request of the baby’s family. The case remains under investigation.

The humane society has been handling more cases involving animal bites this year. Humane officers say social distancing during the pandemic is a big reason for the increase.

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society says families homebound by COVID-19 have led to a rise in animal bite cases.

“A dog that used to sleep 16-hours a day probably is getting four 20-minute naps if there’s three kids home and two adults. I know how I get when I don’t get my sleep,” Senior Humane Officer Andy Oestreich said.

Pets that bite people end up being quarantined in special kennels for 10 days, while the humane society checks if they’ve had all their shots and whether they show symptoms of rabies.

“Depending on the owner and then the animal itself and what kind of bite it is, it could go back to the owner with some restrictions, sometimes they can’t go back to the owners and the owners surrender them,” Sioux Falls Area Humane Society Executive Director Kori Baade said.

Determining if the animal bite was provoked, or unprovoked factors into the decision on whether or not to put the animal down.

“It’s not something we want to do, never something we enjoy doing. It’s a hard, tough decision. But we have to make a decision that’s important to the public and for their safety,” Baade said.

Pets, just like people, can get cranky in the hot weather, so it’s important to give your pet the space it needs for a safe summer.

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society says pets can get scared of people who are wearing masks because the animals can’t read facial expressions underneath the mask. The humane society recommends lowering your mask when you’re around animals to show you’re no threat to them.

The humane society says pets are also starting to act-out by tearing-up furniture as their owners start returning to work.

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