Out of the nearly five million dog bites that occur in the U.S. each year, approximately 800,000 require medical attention. Most of these bites are superficial but a substantial amount are severe enough to cause serious injury and disfigurement and can even be life threatening. The best way to avoid being bitten by a dog is by recognizing the threat and acting accordingly.
While attack dogs such as Rottweilers and pit bulls have the reputation for being aggressive and causing the more serious injuries, any size or breed has the potential for biting, especially if the dog feels threatened, is being protective or provoked. Always avoid a dog that is loose regardless of how friendly it may appear. A tail wag is not a guarantee of non-aggression. A dog that is restricted by a heavy chain or high fence is one that is likely to be aggressive. Reaching over a fence, or into a car, to pet a dog may cause the dogs protective instincts to kick in causing it to bite. If you encounter an unleashed dog, without an owner nearby, assume that the dog is dangerous and avoid contact with it if at all possible. If the dog runs up to you do not try to run or extend your hand. Remain calm and still and let the dog sniff you. In most cases they will lose interest if they get no reaction and move on.
If You Are Bitten
If you have exercised due caution and are still bitten by a dog, gather as much information as possible. Record the name of the owner and their contact information and the dog’s license information if possible. The contact information from any witnesses to the events leading up to, during, and following the attack may be helpful also. Take photos of the wounds, torn or bloody clothing, as well as any areas where the dog may have escaped from. Do not give any statement or accept any offer of settlement by the dog’s owner. Report the incident to the Animal Control Service in your area. They will follow up and determine if the dog was a stray, help to locate the owner and keep the dog quarantined.
As soon as possible, wash the wounds with warm soap and water and apply any antiseptic cream you may have. This will help protect you from infections such as staph and MRSA, a super bug that resists antibiotics. Both of these bacterial infections are common with dog bites.
After you have applied first aid treatments, seek medical attention without waiting. Even if the bite is only a small puncture wound you are still at risk of infection. Bacteria can grow deep within the flesh and become a serious infection, days or even weeks after the occurrence of the bite.
The dog should be confined and observed for a two week period to check for the presence of rabies. If the dog is confirmed to be rabid you will be required to undergo a series of shots. The dog will require euthanasia in that case.
Retaining a Dog Bite Attorney
If your wounds from an unprovoked dog bite are serious enough to cost you medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering it would be beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney that specializes in dog bite cases. He, or she, will be highly knowledgeable of state and local laws regarding animal bites and what is considered negligence. Generally if a dog owner does not restrict a dog that is known to be aggressive, the owner may be held legally responsible for any injuries caused as a result. You may be entitled to a cash award.
Dolman Law Group offers a free evaluation of dog bite injury cases. If you were bitten by a dog and suffered physically and financially reach out to Dolman Law Group. There is no out of pocket cost to you and no obligation. Call us today at (727) 853-6275 for a free consultation.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652