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Be Safe Around Dogs

Dogs can be wonderful pets and companions, but it is important to remember they are still animals. Any animal can act unpredictably or become violent in certain situations. Nevertheless, it is possible to enjoy dogs without being bitten. Even a previous bite should not stop you from interacting with dogs entirely.

Supervise Your Children

Children are more likely to suffer a dog bite than adults. This is because they do not understand the risks of interacting with an animal and because they are smaller and closer to dogs’ eye-levels.

If you have young children, always supervise them when they play with dogs. Make sure the children are being careful and respectful, and that they do not provoke the animal in any way. In some cases, it might be safer for you to help your child pet a dog or even admire the animal from far away. Try to play with one dog at a time, as well. Bites are 5 times more likely to occur when there are 2 or more dogs in the household.

Always Ask First

Before you or your child interact with a dog, make sure to ask its owner for permission. The owner may know how their dog will react to you or be able to calm an excited dog down before you approach it. Whenever you want to pet a dog, let it smell your hand first. Maintain a non-threatening posture and do not make any loud sounds.

While you cannot ask a dog if it is ready to be petted, you can take hints from its activities and behavior. If a dog is sleeping, eating, chewing on something, or caring for puppies, wait for another time to approach it. Similarly, you should not pet a dog through a fence or in a car, as the animal may feel territorial. Never approach a dog who is barking, growling, baring its teeth, or cowering. Beware of any dog with its ears back, tail between its legs, or with an aggressive stance.

Stand Your Ground

If you are approached by a strange dog, stand as still as possible and angle your body away from the animal. Even if you are afraid, do not run, as the dog may chase you. Instead, avoid direct eye contact with the dog and say “no,” or “go home” in a firm, deep voice. Try to keep your arms and hands out of the dog’s way as it passes.

Children may be knocked down by dogs. When this is the case, they should curl into a ball with their knees tucked into their stomach and fingers interlocked over their ears and behind their neck. The dog will most likely sniff the child and walk away.

In the event of an attack, children or parents can put their bag or jacket between themselves and the dog. Anything the dog can grab onto will help distract it and prevent you from serious bites.

What If a Dog Bites Me Anyways?

Some dogs are vicious and will attack you or your loved ones even if you do everything right. If you’ve been bitten by an unprovoked dog, the dog’s owner should be responsible for your injuries and losses.

Seek medical attention as soon as you are bitten and contact an attorney to help ensure the owner pays for your hospital bill and all other expenses associated with the incident.

At Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC, our experienced trial attorneys have been handling dog bite cases since 1999.

We are ready and willing to help you at (843) 968-0886 and encourage you to schedule a free consultation online, today.