It’s been said that dogs are man’s best friend, but what happens when your best friend turns on you? Every year in America, there are over 4 million documented incidents of dog bites, many of which require medical attention. This can be avoided, but only if you are extra cautious and understanding of a dog’s sensitive nature.
Bites Can Happen At Home
Most cases of dog bites involve a familiar dog, such as one belonging to yourself, a family member or a neighbor. Avoid startling or scaring the dog by refraining from sudden movements and allowing him time to become comfortable with your presence. When introducing a new dog into your home, teach your children to play with him gently. Whether it’s an animal trainer in Hollywood or a local personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL, they suggest that bites can sometimes happen as a result of rough play, so encourage games of fetch or long walks instead of wrestling and tug-of-war.
Be Cautious Around Strays
The best way to avoid a dog bite is to keep your distance. Approaching to check the tags on a lost dog is a very kind thing to do, but it doesn’t come without risk. If you don’t feel safe going near the dog but are concerned for his well-being, call your local animal control department and report where you last saw him roaming. Someone will pick him up and take him to the pound, where he can then hopefully be located by his owners. If you do decide to approach the stray, kneel down and allow him to come toward you, avoiding any sudden movements until you are sure he is friendly.
What to Do in Case of an Attack
If you feel threatened by a dog, remain still and avoid eye contact. Shouting, running away or staring at the dog in the eyes could trigger more aggressive behavior. Try to remain motionless as long as it takes for the dog to go elsewhere. At that point, you can slowly begin to move a safe distance away. If this doesn’t work and the dog becomes more aggressive, attempt to block your body with anything you can, such as your bag or jacket.
How to Respond After Being Bitten
Wash the injury with soap and water, cover it with a clean dressing and see a doctor immediately to ensure that you receive the vaccinations you need to stay healthy. Your next step is to call animal control and file a report. Whether or not you choose to do this will depend on the nature of the situation, but if the dog could potentially be a danger to others, it’s important that you report the incident right away. For legal reasons, you may also want to take pictures of your injuries and gather the names and phone numbers of any bystanders who witnessed the attack.
Being attacked by a dog is an intensely traumatic experience. Not only is it physically painful, but also an emotional betrayal. It’s okay if you feel depressed, scared or angry after an attack. Give yourself some time to recover, and if you aren’t feeling better after a few weeks, consider talking to your doctor about post-traumatic stress and how to best treat it.
For freelance writer, Nadine Swayne, being bitten as a teen by a neighbors dog helps her to forward this article. If you have been the victim of a dog attack, you can find a local personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL at the law offices of Steinger, Iscoe & Greene. Since 1997, they have assisted victims of dog bite injuries. The attorneys have the experience to help ensure you or your loved one gets the proper compensation for medical bills and lost wages due to a dog attack.
Photo Credit: Charlie Cowins (CC BY 2.0)