Dogs can be wonderful companions and delightful pets. But, sometimes, they can also pose a danger to neighbors, visitors or our own family members. Dog bites can be extremely painful and costly to treat. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are about 4.5 million dog bites that occur in the United States each year. Among children, the rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for those 5 to 9 years old. Children are more likely than adults to get medical attention for dog bites. Also, among adults men are more likely than women to be bitten by a dog.
Preventing Dog Bites
Although there may not be a way to prevent every dog attack, there are a few steps we can all take regardless of age to help minimize the possibility of a dog bite injury:
- If an unfamiliar dog has approached you, remain motionless. Be still and calm. If you try to run the other way, you might be motivating the dog to chase you.
- Curl into a ball with your head tucked and your hands over your ears and neck, particularly if a dog knocks you over.
- If you see a dog behaving strangely or aggressively, let someone know.
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog. Even if the dog is familiar, be sure not to startle the dog.
- Do not panic or make loud noises if you encounter a dog.
- Don’t disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping or caring for its puppies.
- Do not pet a dog without allowing it see and sniff you first.
- Never encourage your dog to play aggressively.
- Do not leave small children with a dog unsupervised.
Teaching Children to Be Safe
It is a fact that children can get severely or even fatally injured in dog attacks. It is important to teach children how to be safe around dogs. Children should never approach a barking, growling or scared dog. They should never pet unfamiliar dogs or dogs that are behind a fence or in a car. If a child sees a dog off-leash outside, he or she should not approach the dog, but tell an adult immediately. If a loose dog approaches a child, he or she should not run or scream, but avoid eye contact and stand still like a tree until the animal moves away. Children should be taught never to outrun a dog. If a dog does attack a child, he or she should be taught to use objects such as a jacket or backpack to put between him or her and the dog.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been attacked, bitten and injured by a dog, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your rights. First, locate the dog owner and get information such as the dog’s license and the address of the dog owner. File a report with the local police or animal control agency and obtain a copy for your records. Try to get photographs from the scene of your injuries as well as contact information for eyewitnesses. Get prompt medical attention and treatment for your injuries. Contact an experienced Rhode Island dog bite lawyer who will fight hard to protect your rights and help you obtain compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of cosmetic surgery, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. Call a Dog Bite Attorney at 1-800-992-6878 for a no-cost consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.