Dogs, we love them! They are many times our closest companions and considered one of the family. Many of us at Manning & Zimmerman Law are dog owners – and dog lovers! But any dog can be territorial and unpredictable when it feels threatened or when defending puppies, owners or food. “Our dog has never bitten anyone before” is a common refrain heard by those responding to dog bite situations.
The numbers tell the story. More than 4.5 million people are bitten each year in the United States. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), one in five require medical attention. Half of the victims are children and are far more likely to be injured. The Insurance Information Institute also reports that the number of dog bite claims is on the rise, accounting for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance claims paid in 2013, or $483.7 million nationwide.
How to Avoid a
First of all, assume any dog can bite, not just breeds often thought to be more aggressive. Always be cautious around strange dogs, respecting their space especially when sleeping, eating or chewing on a toy. Other important tips:
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog. Teach them to be cautious around pets and ask first before approaching a dog.
- Pay attention to a dog’s body language, looking for cues that it might be uncomfortable like a tensed body, stiff tail, pulled-back head or ears, yawning and intense staring.
- If it looks like a dog might attack, resist the impulse to scream or run away. Stay motionless with your hands at your side. Once the dog loses interest, slowly back away.
- If the dog does attack, “feed” it your jacket, hat, purse or anything else you can put between you and the dog. If you fall, curl into a ball and lay as still as possible with your hands over your head and neck.
- After a dog bite, immediately wash the wound with soap and warm water. Seek medical attention as soon as possible and then report the bite to your local animal control agency.
For more information, download this brochure from the AVMA.
Be a Responsible Dog Owner
According to the Manchester dog bite lawyers at Manning & Zimmerman Law, there is a lot you can do as an owner to ensure that your dog doesn’t bite anyone. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is also your obligation under state and local law. Start by consulting a veterinarian on suitable dogs for your household. Then consider these tips:
- Because so many dog bites happen to young children, you might want to wait until your children are 4 years old or older before bringing home a dog.
- Socialize your pet as a puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Train your dog on basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “no” and “come” to build a bond of obedience and trust. It is also important to exercise and spend time with your dog as dogs left alone too much can develop behavioral problems.
- Keep your dog healthy and feeling well with all required vaccinations. Neutering your pet can also lessen aggression.
- Follow the rules by licensing your dog and obeying leash laws.
Contact Experienced Manchester Dog Bite Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one have suffered a dog bite, contact the Manchester dog bite lawyers at the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC. We may be reached at (603) 210-4464, by email at info@MZLawNH.com, or by using the “contact us” or chat feature on our website.
If you or a loved one have been injured by another person’s careless acts, it is essential that you have competent legal representation from the onset of your case through litigation. Big insurance companies have lawyers looking out for their interests and you should too!
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