Dogs may be mans best friend, but unfortunately they aren't always so friendly. The American Humane Association estimates that around 4.7 million dog bites occur each year in the United States, approximately 800,000 of which are serious enough that the bite victim needs medical care. These dog bites cause more than $1 billion in insurance claims to be paid out.
Our Charlotte dog bite lawyers know that the spring and summer season may be the times when people are most at risk of dog bites. Kids and adults tend to spend more time outside during the warm seasons where they may encounter dogs who bite, and dogs may also be more likely to be outdoors once the weather is warm. More interaction with dogs outdoors can potentially up the chances of bite incidents occurring.
Dog bites can cause lasting disfigurement, serious harm and sometimes death, especially when a child is bitten. Avoiding a dog attack and preventing a dog bite from occurring are very important and dog owners and individuals should all be aware of how to stay safe to minimize the risk of dog attacks from occurring.
Safety Tips for Dog Owners
Dog owners are ultimately responsible for the behavior of their dogs and can be held liable if a dog bite or a dog attack occurs. As such, dog owners should do everything possible to ensure their dogs don't bite. Some tips include:
- Keeping dogs on a leash at all times. Most areas throughout North Carolina have leash laws or ordinances requiring dogs to be leashed.
- Ensuring your yard is dog-proof or that your dogs are kept in a secured area when let outdoors. You should never let your dog roam free since your dog could get hurt or hurt someone else.
- Socializing puppies to new experiences. The best way to prevent a dog bite is to make sure your dog is not aggressive. A great deal of aggression is caused by fear, and you can help to make your dog more comfortable and less prone to fear by providing proper socialization as a puppy.
- Keeping aggressive dogs contained. A dog that seems to present a bite risk should be kept away from areas where the dog might hurt someone. If the dog has to be in a public area, the use of a muzzle is appropriate.
- Seeking behavioral training for bad behaviors. If your dog shows aggression or fails to be obedient to you, then you may wish to find a trainer who can help you to solve your problems before something bad happens.
By following these basic safety tips, you can help to ensure that your dog doesn't hurt anyone.
Safety Tips for Individuals
Even the best trained dog could bite when provoked. As such, everyone has the responsibility to try to keep himself or herself safe from becoming the victim of a dog attack. Tips to do this include:
- Refraining from approaching dogs you do not know. If you wish to pet or interact with a dog, ask the dog's owner first.
- Greeting dogs in a calm manner by holding out your hand to let the dog sniff it first. Avoid approaching dogs you don't know head-on or overly aggressively as this can be seen as a threat.
- Supervising your kids when they are interacting with dogs.
- Leaving animals alone when they are eating and not taking things from dogs such as toys or food.
- Remaining calm and still. If you shout or try to run away when confronted by a stray dog or a potentially dangerous dog, you can increase the chances of getting hurt since the dog may see you as prey.
While an individual who is bit by a dog can generally hold the dog's owner accountable depending upon the circumstances, you cannot make a claim against a dog's owner if you were bit after provoking the dog. Treat dogs with respect and you should hopefully be able to avoid a bite or attack.