Hundreds of thousands of people are injured by dog bites every year. Most injuries are relatively minor and require little medical intervention. Unfortunately, the bites that cause serious injuries can result in long-lasting consequences, including scarring, disfigurement and pain. At Beebe and O’Neil, we have seen the devastating consequences a dog attack can have. We strongly believe in finding justice and closure for Connecticut families that have been impacted by a negligent pet owner.
The facts surrounding dog bites are disturbing and tragic. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, half of all dog attack victims seen in U.S. hospitals every year are children. Children between the ages of five and nine are the ones most frequently bitten. Between 15 and 20 people are killed each year by dogs – approximately 10 of them are children.
What should you know about dog attacks that may save your life, or the life of a child? The following points illustrate scenarios in which a dog – including a familiar one – may bite:
- Dogs are likely to be more protective, nervous or aggressive when they are disturbed while sleeping, eating, playing with a toy or caring for puppies.
- Running from a strange dog may trigger a predator/prey response and cause the dog to give chase.
- Approaching a dog and petting it without getting permission from the owner and letting it sniff your hand first may result in a bite.
- Invading a dog’s territory, such as petting a dog through a fence or entering private property uninvited, may make a dog feel defensive.
It is important to talk to your children about dog safety by teaching them these rules: Always ask an owner’s permission before petting a dog. Respect a dog’s space when it’s occupied with something else. Never tease or taunt a dog. Remain still if a strange dog approaches you. You should avoid eye contact with the dog and wait for it to lose interest. If a dog attacks, attempt to give it something else to bite, such as a jacket or backpack. If you fall down, tuck your knees into your chest and lock your fingers around your neck.
Despite your best precautions, negligent dog owners may be held liable if their dog attacks you or your child unprovoked. For more information on personal injury compensation, visit our page.