No matter how familiar they are with people dogs can always bite - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Expert: Dogs can always bite, no matter how familiar they are with people

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

The family of a 9-month-old who was mauled by their pet dog has asked Maricopa County Animal Care and Control to have their dog put down.

The mother told police she left the baby in the family room for a few minutes, but during that time, the Akita knocked down a gate and went after the child.

Tempe police say the dog has a history of violence, attacking both the infant's mother and older sister.

Even though the dog had a violent past, the family kept the dog in the home and that's not uncommon.  But experts warn that all dogs, no matter how long they've been part of the family can turn on you.

This past weekend, a 77-year-old woman died after the family dog attacked her as she was giving him his medicine.

"You never thought your wife would be a victim.. no, that was the last thing.. I mean she loves animals and dogs."

A few weeks ago, a dog named "Mickey" attacked a 4-year-old who reached for his bone.

"Mickey wasn't just biting to bite, he was shaking his head, trying to hurt."

And then Wednesday's incident in Tempe where the family dog left a 9-month-old with serious head wounds.  It happened when the child's mother stepped away for just a few minutes.

"It's not all what they say it is.. it's just a freak accident."

"Respect the animal."

Dog trainer Nancy Langlois says just because a dog is considered a member of the family or a person is familiar with the dog doesn't mean they won't snap.

"You can have a dog that will never bite and then have one that says I don't feel good today and you were bugging me."

A dog's instinct kicks in, especially when it's being protective.

"It's a normal thing.. we do the same thing, we lock houses so people won't get in.. we resource and guard our property.. the dog is doing that to guard what he has," said Langlois.

Giving a dog plenty of exercise and training -- and doing this from the time they are puppies will help prevent attacks, no matter what breed of dog.

"It depends on how the dogs are raised.  It really does. There's a lot of stuff about pit bulls and bully breeds, but if they are raised correctly, they are not going to attack."

And one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to kids: Langlois says never under any circumstance should a baby or toddler ever be left alone with a dog for any amount of time.

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