By: Darrell Castle
An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur every year in the United States, 800,000 of which require medical care! The insurance industry pays over $1 billion in dog bite claims annually.
A dog attack can happen many different ways. It can be a result of a negligent dog owner not keeping his or her dog under proper control. It can be a result of a of a bad dog owner training his or her dog to be aggressive. Or it can be a result of a child, or even an adult, not knowing how to act around a dog.
Now, the first two reasons pertaining to negligent and bad dog owners are just going to happen – it’s the sad and unfortunate truth. There will always be dog owners who have no sense of responsibility in caring for and raising a dog, leading to them running loose or stray. And there will also always be dog owners who train their dogs for aggressiveness. Though there are great organizations out to combat those types of dog owners and aid the victimized dogs, those dogs will be out there and they’re dangerous (most of the time).
However, there are dogs that are raised well and treated right, but can still become dangerous if frustrated enough. Parents can educate their children on how to act around and play with these dogs, as well as whether or not they should. There are plenty of great resources online to help parents teach their kids about dogs.
Some basic advice includes
Never approach a dog without the owner’s permission. The owner knows whether the dog is good around children or if the dog is prone to show aggression, and he or she will be able to tell you whether the dog is safe.
Never jump or yell near a sleeping dog. The dog doesn’t know whether you’re a threat to it or not. You’ll wake it up startled and throw off its sense of judgement, and if it sees you as a threat, it may attack for defensive reasons.
Never run after a dog who wants to get away. Like the reason above, this dog may see you as a threat, and if it’s trying to run away from you and sees it may not be able to get away, then it may get defensive and decide to attack.
Never bother a dog that’s eating or chewing a bone or toy. I mean, honestly, do YOU like people taking YOUR food or toys from YOU? Don’t you get a little angry? The dog may not know you’re just playing with it.
Never stare a dog in the eye for a long time. Dogs tend to take this as you’re challenging them.
Never play tug of war or other games that reinforce aggression. This one is hard to do, and as a fellow dog lover, I like to play tug of war with dogs myself. However, when one dog may see it as a game, another dog may see it as a threat or challenge and if it gets frustrated enough, it may attack to ensure victory.
Another piece of advice – if you do fall victim to a dog bite or attack, please seek medical attention. You may not truly know how deep the bite is and what long-term consequences you may suffer if you leave the wound untreated.
You should also speak with an attorney. If you were attacked because the dog owner was negligent, you don’t deserve to pay for those medical bills which may include time off work, potentially leading to lost wages – the dog owner should! If that’s the case, you also deserve compensation for your pain and suffering.
An experienced dog bite attorney can help you determine whether there’s negligence involved there. To speak to one and schedule a free consultation, call Darrell Castle & Associates at (901) 327-1212 or fill out one of our online contact forms.