The Humane Society recently reported that close to 4.6 million people in the United States suffer from a dog bite each year. At least 25 of those 4.6 million are fatal. The others likely required an emergency room visit, surgery, and even extensive rehabilitation therapy.
How to Avoid Dog Attacks
The Humane Society estimates that 75% of all dog bite victims know the dog’s owner. In a lot of attack situations the victim had become comfortable enough with the animal that the owner felt safe to leave their dog unrestrained. However, dogs can attack people they are familiar with and these simple rules should be followed around any animal, no matter the comfort level.
· Do not approach any dog while they are eating. Dogs are extremely territorial of their food and do not like to be interrupted.
· Always allow a dog to see and smell you before you approach them too closely. Allowing the dog to become familiar with you first reduces the likelihood of the dog becoming aggressive later on.
· If you feel threatened by a dog, do not panic. Resisting the urge to run and remaining calm may reduce the dog’s adrenaline rush.
What to Do If You Are Bitten
Tragically, not all dog bites are avoidable. If you are bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately. The most common type of injury after a dog attack is lacerations. These lacerations can go deep in to the skin and become infected easily. Even if you feel you are all right after the attack you should still seek medical care to ensure these wounds are properly cleaned and sealed.
Your Legal Rights after a Dog Attack
Dog owners are responsible for their pets at all times. In some circumstances, such as home invasions resulting in a dog attack, the owner may escape liability. However, in a standard dog bite the owner is responsible for damages to the victim. These damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the replacement of damaged property. If you are attacked by a dog a personal injury attorney can work with the dog’s owner to get you compensated for your suffering.
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