Whether you are afraid of dogs or a true dog-lover, occasionally, dogs may attack or bite. Whether the cause is a perception of threat, an injured animal or poor training, the importance of knowing how to protect yourself in this situation can not be overstated. The Humane Society has provided several important tips for avoiding being bitten by a dog.
1. Pay attention to the dog’s body language
Put a safe amount of distance between yourself and a dog if you see the following signals that the dog is uncomfortable and might feel the need to bite:
Tensed body, stiff tail, pulled back head and/or ears, furrowed brow, eyes rolled so that the whites are visible, yawning, flicking tongue, intense stare or backing away.
When putting space between yourself and a dog who might bite, never turn your back on him and run away. A dog’s natural instinct will be to chase and catch you.
2. What to do if you think a dog may attack
The Humane Society recommends that if you are approached by a dog who may attack you, follow these steps:
Resists the impulse to scream and run away. Instead, remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog. Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight. If the dog does attack, “feed” him your jacket, purse, bicycle or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog. If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.
3. If you are bitten by a dog
If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, try not to panic. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water. Contact your physician or go to a hospital immediately.
Take pictures of the injury.
Report the bite to your local animal care and control agency. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including the owner’s name and address. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw him, whether you’ve seen him before, and in which direction he went.
A note from Turner & Turner:
Dog attacks are one of the most common liability claims on home owners’ insurance policies. A dog is the home owner’s responsibility. Half of all dog bite victims are children. In the State of Michigan the owner of a dog is held strictly liable for dog bites to a human being that were not provoked, provided that if the incident happened upon the dog owner’s property the victim was not a trespasser or there to do something unlawful or criminal.
At Turner & Turner we use our expertise and litigate on your behalf, to the fullest extent of the law.
If you or someone you love is bitten by a dog:
Report the incident as soon as possible to the local animal control and/or police department or any other proper legal authority.
We then recommend that you take pictures of the injury, even if you initially do not wish to pursue a claim, because you will have documentation in the event that you later elect to proceed with a claim.
Then, call us at 1-888-8TURNER or complete our online form to receive a free case review.
Source: The Humane Society and Turner & Turner