The fact is, more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by a dog every single year, according to figures released by the American Humane Association (AHA). While some attacks are certainly not preventable, the AHA says there are steps people can follow to help reduce the chances of being savagely bitten by a dog.
How Can I Protect Myself and My Children From Dog Bites?
For small children, supervision is one of the key elements to preventing dog bites, according to experienced dog bite lawyers. They suggest following these simple steps:
Never leave a child aged two or under unsupervised around any dog, not even family pets. Small children cannot possibly understand that some of their actions might provoke a normally placid animal into lashing out, and a single bite can do incredibly horrific damage to tender skin and undeveloped muscle tissue in a toddler.
Children should be taught never to approach a strange dog, even one that is in a car or seemingly secured by a chain. A nervous dog can easily lash out at an unknown child—or any other person—that comes too close when the dog’s owner is not around.
Any dog that is eating a meal, chewing on a bone or playing with a toy should never be approached by a child. Parents should instill this lesson as early as a child is able to understand the message.
If a parent sees a child pulling a dog’s ears or tail (common precursors to dog bites), or slapping or kicking any dog, they should explain to the child that this behavior is never acceptable.
If a Dog Bites, Talk to a Dog Bite Attorney
In California, the laws governing liability for dog bites are clearer than in some other states. Sacramento dog attack attorneys say that the owner is liable, even if they didn’t know the dog would attack and bite another person.
When an innocent victim is bitten by a dog, the owner is completely responsible for paying for any and all medical bills, as well as for the pain and suffering endured by the dog bite victim. If you or a member of your family has been attacked by someone else’s dog, it’s recommended by dog bite attorneys that you:
Identify both the dog and its owner as soon as possible after the attack.
Insist that the owner of the dog gives you their address and phone number
Try to determine if anyone witnessed the attack, and if they did, get the witness’s contact information. Provide their details to your dog bite lawyer.
Take photographs as soon as possible after the attack. Use your cellphone if you must, but try to get several pictures of any scratches, punctures, bite marks and bloody clothes. This will go a long way towards building a strong case.
Most dogs are good dogs, and experts say there are very few animals that are actually born vicious. However, when they are trained to be aggressive, or if they become bored, irritated or anxious, it’s vitally important for people to realize that any dog could potentially bite.
Older dogs who have never, ever shown aggressive tendencies can develop arthritis in the joints. If a child accidentally touches a very sore part of the dog’s body, even though they think they are just petting the dog, the consequences can be horrible and even life-changing. A dog that has never so much as growled at someone can suddenly and violently lash out if they’re in pain.
Parents can help to prevent these painful and traumatic injuries by following the safety tips outlined above, but without any doubt, dog bites will still occur, and hundreds of thousands of Americans each year will have to go to an emergency room for treatment.
If you or a member of your family has been bitten and injured by someone else’s dog, then the owner of that dog is liable, and you should contact a compassionate and experienced Sacramento dog bite attorney. They will explain all your options and help you get the compensation you deserve. A consultation is free, and if you decide to proceed with your claim, the personal injury attorney will guide you through the entire process.