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Avoiding Dog Bite Injuries

Posted by Sandra Worthington | May 10, 2022

Dog bite injuries are far from uncommon even though a lot can be done to prevent them or to minimize the injury.

Dog Bite Statistics:

Each year, April has a dog bite prevention week to raise awareness of dog bite situations and how to prevent them.  The American Veterinary Medical Association (“AVMA”) has some startling statistics about how and why dog bites happen.

  • There are 83 to 88 million dogs in the United States.
  • Forty five percent of homes have at least one dog.
  • 5 million people are bitten by dogs every year.
  • Most dog bite victims are children.
  • Insurers paid out $881 million in personal injury claims in 2021 in dog bite or dog-related injury cases.
  • The average cost for dog bite claims that year was $49,025.

How Dog Bites Happen and How to Prevent Them

Many folks erroneously believe that certain breeds of dogs are more likely to be aggressive, but the AVMA notes that any breed or type of dog can become aggressive given the wrong set of triggers.  In rare instances, a dog may attack without the slightest provocation.  The AVMA recommends the following steps to prevent dog bites.

  • Socialize your dog so that s/he is familiar with all types of people and situations while still a young dog, and keep your dog leashed.
  • Be a responsible pet owner when selecting the right type of dog and its background for your family.
  • Educate your family and friends about when and whether to approach your pet.
  • Avoid high risk situations by not interfering with your dog in the following circumstances:
    • If the dog is not with its owner or appears to be a stray.
    • The dog's owner does not give you permission to approach their pet or if the dog is wearing a yellow ribbon on the leash which means the dog does not like to be touched by strangers.
    • The dog is on the other side of a fence, door, or boundary as the dog may feel territorial and aggressive with intruders in that case.
    • The dog is sleeping or eating or is injured or sick.
    • If the dog is with her puppies and is acting protective or anxious when people are near her puppies.
    • The dog is playing with a toy.
    • The dog seems to want to be alone or to hide.

https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/dog-bite-prevention

What to Do in Case of a Dog Bite

Should your dog bite someone, you are responsible for restraining your dog and getting help for the victim.  Here's what to do:

  • Restrain your dog as soon as possible and get it away from the scene immediately.
  • Check the victim's condition, and make sure that the wounds are flooded and cleaned thoroughly with soap and water immediately.
  • Call 911 if needed and make sure the victim gets professional medical care as dog bite injuries can lead to serious infections and complications.
  • Make sure to get the victim's contact information.
  • Give the bite victim your contact and vet information so they can get up to date information on your dog's vaccines.
  • Contact your local animal control officer to find out about any local rules and regulations on reporting dog bite cases, and make sure you comply with those requirements.

https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/dog-bite-emergencies

If you have been bitten, get immediate medical attention.  Once the situation is stabilized, contact us so that we can review your legal rights and remedies.  Our extensive experience with dog bite cases enables us to inform you of your rights.  Remember, we wrote the book on dog bite cases, and we are here to help.  So, call us at 215-576-5150.

About the Author

Sandra Worthington

I am all about YOU. You have been in an accident, and you need a lawyer who understands you and your injuries. Many of my clients are active folks of all ages who are or were involved in walking, running, biking, skateboarding, surfing, yoga, weight-lifting, racquet sports, and countless other a...

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