CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (News10)-Albany Medical Center is reporting an alarming uptick in child injuries due to dog bites. 20 cases in just one month. What’s perhaps just as disturbing, is the fact that more than 90-percent of these instances involved family pets.

“We have a sweet, friendly Corgi. Never shown any sign of aggression before,” Melissa Veino told News10’s Anya Tucker. Melissa says it was why she was completely shocked when their family dog Luna bit her 10-year-old daughter. The injury required several stitches. As a pediatrician, she has treated children with dog bites. “Some really severe bites or attacks,” she said. But she says she always assumed the dogs who bite are aggressive. “Or, that the family wasn’t taking good care of them. Or, that the kids were being especially naughty,” she added. But that is not what she experienced in her own home. And she is not alone.

During the month of December, Albany Medical Center’s Pediatric Emergency Department treated 20 children for dog bite injuries. What’s perhaps just as disturbing, is that most of the dogs were family pets. AMC tells News10 that 94-percent of the December cases involved dogs living in the home. “It’s the worst we’ve actually seen at Albany med. It’s now our second leading cause of injury to date at Albany Med,” said Ashley Bayly, Trauma & Injury Prevention Coordinator for Albany Medical Center. She told News10’s Anya Tucker that the injures ran the gamut from lacerated fingers to fractured skulls and face lacerations. She says the patients ages ranged from infancy and 15-years-old.

Teri Rudolph is a dog trainer who works with families. “Dogs will try to give us different signs that they are not comfortable. But we don’t always know how to read them,” she said. Teri teaches parents and kids how to interact with dogs as well as how to recognize the signs that a dog is stressed. She offered a few examples, such as low tail wagging, or if a dog suddenly appears to freeze up or becomes very still. “Or they may turn their head away, but just kind of look up with the whites of their eyes.” Teri says this is known as “Whale Eye”. She says yawning and lip licking, or tongue flicking can also be a sign of stress.

Melissa says that security cameras in their home showed that their dog Luna gave her children signals before the bite. The video showed her backing away from the kids with her ears drawn downward. Melissa says her daughters believed they were helping Luna stay warm by dressing her in a doggie sweater as they planned on going outside into the cold weather. “And they were convinced that they needed to keep her warm and that they were trying to help her.”

Melissa says her family got Luna in January of 2020, but the obedience training they had scheduled was cancelled due to the pandemic. She says they have now signed up for new sessions. “Cause, we love our dog. And I think the circumstances weren’t good and we need to fix that.”

Medical Experts say any dog bite that breaks the skin should be seen by your healthcare provider. Albany Medical Center also highly encourages obedience training with a trained professional, regardless of the dog’s age. Click here and here for dog bite prevention tips.