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3 Ohio residents injured in Ohio pit bull attack

Firefighters who responded to an emergency call in Heath, Ohio, on Dec. 15, were greeted with a horrifying sight: Two pit bulls were attacking a woman on the ground outside of a home on Conn Way Drive.

The dogs eventually retreated back through the open door to the home where three young children had barricaded themselves for safety -- one of them, a 9-year-old, was already critically injured. Aside from the child and the woman outside, another adult female was also discovered with life-threatening bite wounds.

The three victims were all transported to Columbus for urgent medical care and surgery. Meanwhile, officers were forced to put down the two adult dogs, both pit bulls, who may have been protecting their six puppies inside the home.

Any dog -- of any breed -- can become violent and aggressive when they feel threatened or are protecting their territory. A dog's territorial instincts are part of the reason that many homeowners keep them around. Aside from a dog's ability to be a loving companion, dogs instinctively adopt their owner's property as their own and protect it.

However, those territorial instincts can become dangerous under certain conditions -- like when a dog wants to protect its puppies. Owners may not always notice when their dog is giving off signs that it is agitated or feeling territorial -- which means that you should always be on the alert for signals from the dog. Growling, snapping, lunging, raised hackles or fur and aggressive barking are all ways that a dog can say, "Keep away!" If you see a dog behaving that way, it's wise to obey.

Dog bites can leave victims physically and emotionally scarred for life. If your child suffers a dog bite, don't hesitate to seek immediate medical care -- and then learn more about your legal options.

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