April 7 – April 13 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. It may sound like an April Fools Day joke, but the very serious annual awareness campaign is designed to bring attention to the epidemic of dog bites in America. The sponsors of the awareness campaign are a who’s who of associations and businesses that would have a legitimate interest in reducing the number of dog bites suffered across the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog every year, resulting in at least 800,000 hospital visits, most of which involve children.
All of the available dog bite statistics highlight often overlooked dangers of dog ownership. The American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) has published an infographic that overviews dog bites and their effect on society. AVMA also believes that most dog bites are preventable through education and awareness. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has previously posted on the menace of dog bites and what people can do to protect themselves. Here are some important tips on how to avoid being bitten by a dog.
- Do not approach unfamiliar dogs
- If approached by an unfamiliar dog, stay still and don’t make any sudden movements or noises
- While staying still, if a dog knocks you to the ground, curl into a ball and remain still
- Avoid making direct eye contact with an unfamiliar dog
- Let sleeping dogs lie – Avoid interacting with dogs that are sleeping, eating, or nursing
- Do not attempt to break up a dog fight
- Do not pet any unfamiliar dogs that are restrained
- Notify authorities if you see a stray dog or any dog exhibiting unusual behavior
Dog owners must also do their part. AVMA notes that any dog can bite, regardless of breed size, gender, or age. Proper pet ownership can reduce the risk of dog bites.
- Always spay and neuter your dogs
- Avoid games that can lead to aggressive behavior, such as wrestling or tug of war
- Bond with a new dog before introducing children to it
- Don’t leave dogs chained up outside
- Do not leave your dog unsupervised with any children or infants
- Discourage aggressive behavior, including growling or baring teeth
Should the worst happen and you or a family member are bitten by a dog, immediately seek medical treatment if necessary. In California, the owner of the offending dog is liable for your injuries. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help you pursue financial compensation for your medical recovery and pain and suffering. Call us today at 888-517-9888 to schedule a free personal injury consultation.