Dealing With a Dog Bite
Dogs Are Fantastic Pets
Dogs are loyal companions and bring a great deal of joy to a lot of people, but not every dog is friendly. If a dog does not belong to you or you are not its handler then you should be respectful of the dog and the wishes of its master.
Today, there are about 75 million dogs in the United States. About 4.7 million dog bites are reported each year. That means that about 6.5% of dogs will bite a person seriously enough to be reported. Out of those 4.7 million reported bites, about 800,000 or one out of six is serious enough to need medical attention. So, each year 1% of dogs will bite somebody seriously enough that they need to go to the hospital. And those figures are assuming that each dog bite comes from a different dog. Most dogs are well-behaved and are not vicious, but people still need to know how to interact with dogs so they stay safe around them and prevent being hurt by a dog bite. Most bites are not the result of vicious and aggressive dogs, but instead are the result of people who are not aware of the boundaries of dogs. Dogs will bite when they feel threatened or scared and they will bite in self-defense.
Dog Bites Are Easy To Avoid
Most dog bites don’t need to happen in the first place. Knowing the limits of dogs and what makes them feel threatened is a great way to prevent them. You should never pet a dog when it is eating or when it is sleeping. Dogs are animals and their first concern is self-defense. A dog is most vulnerable when sleeping, so if it is startled its natural reaction is to bite. This bite is a natural reaction that a dog can not control and doesn’t even know is happening. Another way to avoid being bitten is to refrain from putting your hands over a dog’s head, particularly if you are not familiar with the dog. A dog’s neck is a very vulnerable place they will instinctively try to protect it. Putting your hand over a dog’s head is something the dog may see as a threat. Another thing that dogs take as a threat or challenge is direct eye contact. With dogs that you are not familiar with you should avoid direct eye contact as the dog may see it as a threat. When you encounter a dog that is not yours you should always ask the owner or handler if it is okay to approach the animal and respect whatever they tell you, whether that be a flat-out “no” or if they ask you to approach the dog in a certain way, you should listen. They know if the dog is well-behaved or not and it is up to them to decide if they will allow you to interact with their animal. Even smaller dogs can do damage with a bite as the mouth of a dog is filled with all kinds of bacteria.
Dog Ownership is Responsibility
In most states a dog’s owner is liable if the animal bites. It doesn’t matter if the dog has no history of biting or how well it is generally behaved. Dog law usually requires that the owner provide monetary compensation to the victim of a dog bite for medical bills and may require that the dog be quarantined or even put down.
What To Do If You Are a Dog Bite Victim
The first thing you need to do if you are a dog bite victim is to identify the dog who bit you and who the owner is. You will want to know if the dog is up-to-date on all its vaccinations. If the dog isn’t, or you were bitten by a dog you can’t identify you may want to get a rabies shot although rabies in dogs is not much of a concern now-a-days. If the bite is serious enough, or if you can’t identify the owner of the dog to find out if it is up-to-date on shots then you should go see a doctor. About 1,000 Americans go to the emergency room for dog bites every day. If you are bitten in the face or you have concerns about disfigurement then you may want to see a plastic surgeon, because emergency rooms top priority is not always aesthetics. If the bite doesn’t require you to go to the hospital then make sure that you clean out the bite with soap at the very least. Hydrogen peroxide is preferable because dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths and you don’t want to catch an infection. For this same reason you do not want to stitch a dog bite because you may be trapping bacteria underneath your skin. Just bandage the bite and let it heal on its own. Lastly you should contact a personal injury attorney or an experienced dog bite lawyer. An attorney will help to protect your rights and to make sure you receive the monetary settlement that you are entitled to.
What Not To Do If Bitten By a Dog
When bitten by a dog you should not discuss any financial issues connected to the dog bite until you have talked with a personal injury attorney. You should not allow recorded statements or let someone photograph your injury. You can however photograph the bite for your own personal records, but do not let others do the same. Finally you should not discuss the bite with anybody until you have first talked with a personal injury attorney or a dog bite lawyer.