What to do after you’re attacked by a dog

dog attackAny dog can become aggressive, and an attack could leave you or your loved ones with serious injuries or worse. The dog’s owner can typically be held responsible, but there are steps that need to be taken soon after the incident to build a solid case.

Enlist the help of family members, friends and a lawyer to get everything in order while you recover. 

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When man’s best friend isn’t so friendly: Tips for avoiding dog bites

You’re jogging down the sidewalk when, out of nowhere, an unfamiliar dog comes charging toward you. Do you run the opposite direction? Scream at the top of your lungs?

In this scenario, following your Avoiding Dog Bitesfirst instinct would probably be the worst decision you could make. Loud noises or sudden movements will further provoke the dog, and your odds of outrunning one are slim.

Being attacked by a dog is a traumatic experience, and can leave victims with serious or even fatal injuries. There’s no surefire way to prevent an attack by an aggressive dog, but there are measures you can take to help deescalate the situation if one approaches you.

Follow these tips for avoiding dog bites on your walks, runs and bike rides.

4 tips for avoiding dog bites:

1. Be prepared

Carry pepper spray or an animal deterrent spray each time you go out for a walk, run or bike ride. A spare article of clothing, umbrella or extendable bite stick could also help distract or hold off the dog if an attack is inevitable.

2. Stand very still

The movements of runners and bikers often serve as a trigger for a dog’s prey drive. As soon as you realize a dog is approaching you, stop where you are and turn slightly away from the animal.

3. Remain calm

An attacking dog instinctively takes advantage of “prey” that appears scared or weak. While you must avoid coming off as a threat, appearing calm and confident shows the dog you are dominant and in control of the situation.

4. Avoid eye contact

Dogs are not generally inclined to attack humans unless they feel threatened, but looking a dog in the eye signals a challenge. Keep the dog in your peripheral vision to help you track its movements without further provoking it.

Ideally the dog will realize you are not a threat and eventually lose interest, giving you a chance to slowly exit the area. If the dog proceeds to attack despite your efforts, do your best to protect your face, throat and chest, and keep your hands balled into fists to protect your fingers.

On the flip side

Be sure you’re doing your part to prevent your dog from becoming aggressive with others. Always supervise your dog when it’s outside or keep it contained in your yard. Watch for holes in your fence or other ways your dog could escape, as was the case when two Cane Corso dogs attacked an Elyria woman earlier this year.

All dog owners, especially those who own dogs considered dangerous or vicious, have a duty to keep their animal confined. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation if you or a loved one were seriously injured by a dog.

Dog Bite Prevention Week – 2014

By now you’ve probably seen the viral video of “Tara,” a family cat saving a young boy from a dog attack.  Unfortunately,dogs bite more than 4 million Americans annually, half of which are children. While not all bites are severe, one in five dog bites results in injuries serious enough to require medical attention.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (May 18-24, 2014), is an annual event designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a serious public health issue.

To reduce the chances of your dog biting someone, the Insurance Information Institute recommends taking the following steps:

  • Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household and neighborhood.
  • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a home with an infant or toddler. A dog with a history of aggression is inappropriate in a household with children.
  • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful of or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
  • Socialize your dog so it knows how to act with other people and animals.
  • Discourage children from disturbing a dog that is eating or sleeping.
  • Play non-aggressive games with your dog, such as “go fetch.” Playing aggressive games like tug-of-war” can encourage inappropriate behavior.
  • Avoid exposing your dog to new situations in which you are unsure of its response.
  • Never approach a strange dog and always avoid eye contact with a dog that appears threatening.
  • Immediately seek professional advice from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders if your dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

Liability

The Ohio Revised Code (955.28) imposes strict liability in dog bite cases. That means anyone who owns, harbors or keeps a dog is liable whenever his dog bites, injures or causes a loss to a person or to the property of a person—even if the dog has never bitten anyone one before—unless the injured individual was trespassing or committing a criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor on the property. (Beckett v. Warren, 124 Ohio St. 3d 256, 2010-Ohio-4, 921 N.E.2d 624, ¶ 10.)

What to do after a dog bite

If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, try not to panic.

  • Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Call 9-1-1 or contact your physician for additional care and advice.
  • Report the bite to your local animal care and control agency. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including his owner’s name and the address where he lives. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw him, whether you’ve seen him before, and in which direction he went.
  • Contact an experienced dog bite attorney to investigate your case and protect your legal rights.

 

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/index.html