In an attempt to get free, a Park Forest pooch bit off his own tongue after getting it caught in a paper shredder over New Year's weekend, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
It's an unsettling reminder of the dangers of machines, many which have settings to automatically turn on when objects -- like the fingers of small children or the tongues of curious animals -- get near.
The latest incident happened over the New Year's weekend, when Pat Taylor was watching her daughter's dog, Caine.
Taylor said she found Caine with his tongue "three inches into it when I pulled the plug."
The dog ultimately bit himself free and was taken to an emergency clinic, where a feeding tube was installed.
Such stories are rare, but they're not unheard of.
More than 100 stitches were needed to repair the tongue of a Miami dog when she licked a paper shredder last May.
In January 2007, a then 7-month-old dog in Toledo, Ohio stuck his tongue out and got caught in one of the machines, perforating the tip of his tongue into several "mini-tongues." [ABCNEWS.com Video]
A St. Louis-area dog had to learn how to drink from a syringe and scoop water to her mouth after she got too close to a shredder in May 2006.
And it's not just pets.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported 31 finger amputations and other finger injuries from paper shredders from January 2000 to December 2003, the Spokesman Review of Spokane, Wash., reported.
- Unplug shredders when not in use.
- Store shredders out of reach of animals (and, of course, children, especially those under 5, who can also be victims of shredder accidents). Make sure that the shredder is located in a place that is "pounce proof": Acrobatic kitties that jump atop shredders can also do terrible damage to themselves.
- To avoid attracting animals, never put food wrappers through shredders.
- Do not leave shredders on the "automatic" setting.
- When buying a shredder, look for one with a protective bar over the opening.