Damage and Injuries Due to Dog Bites and Attacks
Dogs have the well-earned reputation for being loyal companions, cute and cuddly but also capable of fiercely protecting and defending their owners. Many dog owners consider their pets to be a part of the family, and include them in many of their daily activities. Many restaurants, hotels, stores, and neighborhoods now welcome their customers’ canine companions, and there are certain breeds of dogs that are now considered as accessories for the fashion-minded and well-to-do. While these types of pampered pooches are not the types of dogs we typically associate with dog bites and attacks, the fact is that under certain circumstances, all dogs have the potential to bite and inflict tremendous damage. Knowing the risks posed by dog bites and how to tell when a dog is hostile and about to attack can save both you and your loved ones from serious injury.
Risks Associated with Dog Bites and Attacks
While dogs are almost universally beloved for the good qualities they possess, they are still animals that are capable of posing a threat to humans. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in the United States alone there are approximately 4.5 million people bitten by dogs each year. Children are the most common victims of dog bites and attacks, followed closely by senior citizens. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not just aggressive breeds that are prone to biting; even the friendliest family pet can cause serious injuries to their owners and others if they are provoked. Common reasons a dog may bite include:
- To defend itself or its territory. If a dog feels threatened, it is more likely to bite or attack in self-defense;
- To defend its owner. Animated conversation, verbal arguments, and aggressive gestures can all be perceived as a threat to an animal;
- If the dog is scared, startled, or under stress. Social situations, such as having a party, or being in an unfamiliar environment can trigger aggression in your pet; and
- If your dog is sick, or has suffered some form of injury, they will be more likely to act aggressively.
Even during play, you have to be careful that your dog doesn’t get carried away and cause actual damage or injury. Nipping is common in puppies, but it is best for your safety and the safety of others to discourage this behavior. Avoid aggressive games such as wrestling or tug-of-war. While you may know when to stop or when the play has become too rough, your dog might not.
Preventing Dog Bites and Attacks
According to the Florida Department of Health, over 600 Floridians are hospitalized each year due to dog bites and attacks. These types of injuries can leave permanent scarring and damages, and pose a high rate for infection. Protect yourself and your loved ones from being injured by following these safety tips to prevent dog bites:
- Never leave young children unsupervised around any dog, even a familiar one;
- Don’t approach stray dogs. If you spot a stray or unleashed dog, call animal control;
- Never disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or is taking care of puppies;
- Avoid looking a dog directly in the eyes. They can take this as a challenge; and
- If you are confronted by a growling dog, remain calm. Never run from a dog, and avoid screaming or loud noises. These behaviors can instigate an attack.
If you are in a situation where you feel a dog bite or attack is inevitable, offer the dog something else to latch onto, such as a handbag, backpack, or jacket sleeve.
Contact an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you know has been injured by a dog bite or attack, contact an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer today. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, we understand the serious injuries that can result from dog bites. Our experienced staff will help you hold responsible parties accountable and get the damages you need to recover. Serving the entire Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, our lawyers and staff will provide the comprehensive legal service you deserve. Call us at (772) 595-6654 for a free consultation today.