When Man’s Best Friend Isn’t
Are you afraid of dogs? If not, maybe you should be. At the very least, it pays to be aware of them and to be careful around animals you don’t know. Although most dogs will never attack, it only takes one to turn your world upside down.
It Happens More Often Than You Would Think
In July 2018, a family who was dog-sitting for a friend in Jacksonville was mortified when the pit-bull mix attacked their young child, sending the six-year-old to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. In February 2017, a neighborhood dog mauled a three-year-old girl while walking to the store with her father in Miami. In this country alone, someone gets medical attention for a dog bite every minute of the day, 24 hours a day. That’s about 4.5 million dog bites every year. Besides the pain and trauma of the bite itself, about 20 percent of bites develop an infection.
Dollars and Cents
In 2016, a total of $600 million was paid out in homeowner liability claims for incidents related to dog bites. That accounts for more than a third of all homeowners’ claims that year. Beyond liability expenses, another $165 million goes to medical costs.
Understanding Dog Bites
The fact of the matter is, seven out of every 10 bites occur on the dog-owner’s property. And well over half of victims are children. So why, exactly, do dogs become aggressive? There could be a number of reasons:
- They are startled;
- The feel provoked;
- They are defending their territory;
- They are fearful or stressed;
- They are feeling ill, or achy;
- They are protecting their food or toys;
- They are simply playing and get too rough
- They are fatigued.
Preventing Dog Bites
There are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of avoiding an unpleasant dog encounter:
- Don’t approach a dog you don’t know without the owner’s permission
- Avoid panicking or startling a dog;
- Never disturb a dog while it is eating or sleeping
- Supervise small children around dogs;
- Avoid rough play that encourages aggression with your pet;
- If a dog charges, do not run;
When Under Attack
If a dog does lunge, it sounds ridiculous, but make every effort to remain calm. Try to sound authoritative and say, “No,” or “Go home!” Avoid making eye contact or facing the dog directly. Raise your hands to your neck and hopefully the dog will retreat. If it attacks, do your best to remain on your feet, and put anything you have, such as a purse or backpack, between yourself and the animal. If you do wind up on the ground, protect your head and torso.
Following a Dog Attack
If you or a loved one has experienced a dog attack, you are not alone in the aftermath. As you struggle with the physical and emotional devastation of the attack, the experienced legal team at the Law Office of Robert W. Elton will be working hard to make sure the dog’s owner is accountable for the harm caused. Contact us in Daytona & Ormond Beach to discuss your situation with us today.