Dogs are one of the most common family pets in the United States, with over 70 million dogs spread throughout the country. Despite the stereotype that dogs are “man’s best friend,” dog bites account for 90 percent of all animal bites. Some breeds have been labeled as family-friendly while others are known to be especially aggressive. While these categories have some weight to them, the truth is that any dog can snap at any time. Dog bites may sound fairly minor, but with over 4.5 million dog bites occurring in this country each year, over 27,000 victims require reconstructive surgery as a result of the bite’s damage. No matter your age or experience with dogs, it is imperative that you know how to prevent dog bite attacks, especially as a parent. Since you can encounter dogs in any environment, these tips can save you and your kids lots of pain, time, and money.
Taking Preventative Measures
Children make up approximately half of all dog bite victims, and because of their size and fragility, their injuries are typically more serious and impactful in the long term. It is important to teach the following safety tips to children from a young age so that they can recognize signs of aggression from the start:
Do not approach an unfamiliar dog. It is common to see pet owners walking their dogs in public parks where children are playing with friends. Kids can often run up to unfamiliar dogs, thinking they are friendly and happy to be petted. Be sure to tell your child to never run up to a strange dog since you never know their experience or temperament around children.
Keep your movement consistent. This can be a tough lesson to teach kids since they rarely think before acting. It is important to tell children that they should avoid any sudden movements while around dogs since the unexpected movement can scare the animal and cause it to lash out.
Let the dog approach you. Similar to the previous tip, approaching an unfamiliar dog can scare the animal and cause an aggressive response. Kids should always let the dog come to them, sniff them, and become familiar with their scent before touching the dog.
Put your hand out and allow the dog to respond. Before touching the dog directly, you should put your hand out for the canine to sniff and see. If a dog does not see your hand before you attempt to pet it, its surprise at the touch can lead to a fearful, aggressive response.
Speak to the owner first. It is never advisable to play with someone else’s dog since you never know how it will respond. The best way to determine the dog’s ability to safely interact is by speaking with the owner before approaching the animal. No one knows a dog better than its owner, so he or she should be able to explain to your child the animal’s social behaviors.
Depending on the situation, a dog’s owner may be held liable if his or her pet causes you or your child any injuries under the Illinois Animal Control Act. An experienced personal injury can review the circumstances surrounding your case to help you determine liability and hold those accountable for your pain and suffering.
Contact an Arlington Heights Dog Bite Injury Attorney
If your child is bitten by a dog, the physical and mental effects can be long-lasting. Children’s sensitivity to danger can leave them scarred from an animal attack and fearful of dogs for the rest of their life. The bite can also leave you with extensive medical bills and time taken off work to care for your injured child. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we believe that those who have been injured due to another party’s negligence are owed deserved compensation for their financial losses. Our Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyers hold dog owners accountable for placing your child in danger. For legal support regarding a recent dog attack, contact us today at 847-797-8000 to schedule your free consultation.