Doctors, victim warn against dog attacks

ALBANY, N.Y. – The summer months are a great time to get out and enjoy the warm weather with family, friends, and many times the family dog. But just remember dogs are animals and sometimes, just like humans, can act out.

Every year more than 800,000 people are bit by a dog with wounds ranging from minor to fatal. Last year, Eleanor Shkaf was one of those people after being attacked by her own German Shepherd, Cesar.

“I was getting ready for work, ready to leave the house and my own dog without any provocation attacked me,” Shkaf said.

Being a nurse, she quickly reacted, and did what Dr. John Pacheco says anyone in that situation should do before heading to the emergency room. “Be sure to take a clean cloth or anything you have at the time and hold direct pressure on the wound to get the bleeding to stop.”

Most of Shkaf's injuries were to her hands. She no longer has the tip of her left thumb, but after three surgeries at Albany Medical Center and six months of rehabilitation, she is lucky and now has about 90 percent use of her hands.

Doctors say dog mouths are actually cleaner than human mouths, but there is still a risk of getting infected.

After the attack, Shkaf found out her 7-year-old dog had a brain tumor which may have caused him to act out, but regardless of the reason for the attack she gives has advice for everyone to keep safe. “A dog is an animal and we can never predict what is going to happen.”

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