Every day in America approximately 1,000 citizens require emergency treatment due to a severe dog bite. In many instances this happens when someone is jogging, riding their bike or taking a walk. Although it is impossible to prevent all of these dog bites from occurring, there are several steps that you can take to reduce your risks of ending up in the emergency room.
1. Avoid Eye Contact – If you are walking past a yard that has an unattended dog in it, then you need to make sure that you avoid eye contact. Dogs feel much more territorial if eye contact is made, so simply ignore the animal and keep moving.
2. Stop Running – You can run or jog past most dogs without experiencing any issues, but if the dog notices you and starts moving quickly in your direction, you should not keep running. Doing so will incite the dog to chase you, and you will be much more likely to be bitten as a result of the chase.
3. Do Not Approach – Some dogs are extremely friendly and want you to stop and pet them, but there are also some dogs that will be antagonized by such a simple gesture. Always ask for permission before petting a dog. If the dog is unattended, do not risk it.
4. Keep Your Face Away – If you do get permission to pet a dog that you do not know, it is important to follow a few simple rules. First, let the dog sniff your hand before you pet it. If you crouch down to the dog’s level, make sure that your face is turned to the side. The worst thing that you can do is present your face directly towards a dog that you do not know because that is exactly where it will bite you if it starts to feel threatened.
5. Stay Calm and Still – Sometimes our instincts take control and we do unwise things, such as running or cycling quickly away from an aggressive dog. If this leads you into a situation where the dog gets you cornered, you need to stop moving. Do not scream or make any loud noises. Instead, remain perfectly still and remember to avoid eye contact. The dog should eventually lose interest, and you will be able to slowly back away from the situation.
6. Assume the Fetal Position – If a dog gets the jump on you and successfully knocks you over, it is best to go into the fetal position and cover your face with your arms. When you go into a submissive position like this instead of fighting back, many dogs will lose interest. Even if they do bite you, though, you will prevent your face from receiving any serious injuries
7. Meal Time is Not Social Time – When a dog is eating, you should stay away from them. If they have any reason to feel threatened by your actions, they will chase after you and attempt to bite you. It is better to avoid a dog in this situation altogether.
The safest approach to outside exercise is to simply cross the street and avoid any strange dogs on your path. If you find yourself in a bad situation, though, utilize the tips that you have just learned to minimize the potential damage. Severe dog bites need to be taken care of right away, so if you do get bitten, seek medical attention immediately. Dog bite victims not only suffer with the physical injuries from the attack, but may also experience emotional and psychological damages such as fear of going outside.
If despite your best efforts, you still suffer injury from a dog bite, you likely have a personal injury claim against the owner of that animal. Dog owners are liable for bites inflicted viciously by their dog. It is even possible that someone other than the owner of the dog may be liable for your injuries. In some states, any person who has the dog in his care at the time of the attack may be found responsible.