By Joan Murray

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s hard to imagine man’s best friend turning into a violent foe. But last week, an unleashed dog attacked a father and his young son at a Miami dog park.

That attack is why humane society officials launched a warning Monday in front of the Margaret Pace Dog Park on Bayshore Drive, urging everyone to keep their guard up around unleashed dogs.

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With dog ownership skyrocketing during the pandemic, they say emergency room visits for children with animal bites has increased threefold since the onset of COVID-19.

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“The lockdowns have created stress for familie,” said Jean Shafiroff with the National Humane Society. “And although pet adoption is up, the amount of training for those pets is down.”

Miami-Dade Animal Care said they have been able to stem the tide of dog bites.

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“In 2020, there were 500 fewer dog bites than in 2019. The most important thing for pet owners to know is their dogs need to be on leash at all times,” said Kathleen Labrada.