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Dealing With a Dog Bite
Dogs are fantastic pets
Dogs are loyal companions and bring great joy to many people, but not every dog is friendly. If a dog is not owned by you or you are not its handler, then you should respect the dog and its owner’s wishes.
Today, there are approximately 75 million dogs in the United States. About 4.7 million dog bites are reported each year. This means that about 6.5% of dogs will bite a person badly enough to be reported. Of those 4.7 million reported bites, about 800,000 or one in six are serious enough to require medical attention. So every year 1% of dogs will bite someone so badly that they need to go to the hospital. And this data assumes that each dog bite comes from a different dog. Most dogs are well behaved and not vicious, but people need to know how to interact with dogs to stay safe around them and not get hurt by a dog bite. Most bites are not the result of vicious and aggressive dogs, but instead are the result of people not knowing the boundaries of dogs. Dogs will bite when they feel threatened or afraid, and they will bite in self-defense.
Dog bites are easy to prevent
Most dog bites don’t have to happen in the first place. Knowing your dogs limits and what makes them feel threatened is a great way to deter them. You should never pet a dog when it is eating or sleeping. Dogs are animals and their first concern is self-defense. A dog is most vulnerable when it is sleeping, so if it is startled its natural reaction is to bite. This biting is a natural reaction that a dog cannot control and does not even know is happening. Another way to avoid being bitten is to avoid putting your hands over a dog’s head, especially if you are not familiar with the dog. A dog’s neck is a very vulnerable place that they will instinctively try to protect. Putting your hand over a dog’s head is something the dog may see as a threat. Another thing that dogs see as a threat or challenge is direct eye contact. With dogs you are not familiar with you should avoid direct eye contact as the dog may see this as a threat. When you meet a dog that is not yours, you should always ask the owner or handler if it is okay to approach the animal and respect what they say, whether that is a flat “no” or if they ask you to approach the animal. 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 a dog’s mouth is full of all kinds of bacteria.
Dog ownership is a responsibility
In most states the owner of a dog is liable if the animal bites. It doesn’t matter if the dog has no history of biting or how well behaved it is in general. Dog law usually requires the owner to provide monetary compensation to the victim of a dog bite for medical bills and may require the dog to be quarantined or even put down.
What to do if you are a victim of a dog bite
The first thing to do if you are a victim of a dog bite is to identify the dog that bit you and who the owner is. You will want to know if the dog is up to date on all of his vaccinations. If the dog is not, or you have been bitten by a dog you cannot identify, you may want to get a rabies shot, although rabies in dogs is not a major concern today. If the bite is severe enough, or if you can’t identify the dog’s owner to find out if they are 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 have a bite on your face or are concerned about disfigurement, then you may want to see a plastic surgeon, because the first priority in the emergency room is not always cosmetic. If the bite does not require you to go to the hospital, then be sure to clean the bite with soap at least. Hydrogen peroxide is preferable because dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths and you don’t want to get an infection. For the same reason you don’t want to stitch up a dog bite because you can trap bacteria under your skin. Just bandage the bite and let it heal on its own. Finally, you should contact a personal injury attorney or an experienced dog bite attorney. An attorney will help you protect your rights and make sure you get the monetary settlement you are entitled to.
What not to do if bitten by a dog
When bitten by a dog, you should not discuss financial issues related to the dog bite until you speak with a personal injury attorney. You must not allow recorded statements or allow someone to photograph your injury. However, you can photograph the bite for your own personal records, but don’t let others do the same. Finally, you should not discuss the bite with anyone until you first speak with a personal injury attorney or dog bite attorney.
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