Most dog bites are preventable. For the most part, dogs deserve their reputation as man’s best friend. Dogs do not attack people unless they have a reason to think that the person is a threat to the dog or the dog’s human family. While some dog bite injuries happen because the bite victim was deliberately antagonizing the dog, it is more often the case that both the victim and the dog’s owner are completely surprised that the friendly family pet would bite. If a dog bit you or one of your children, the dog bite lawyers at Foster Wallace, LLC will help you recover damages that you are entitled to.
Responsible Pet Ownership
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, how likely a dog is to bite depends on many things the dog’s owners do from the first day they bring the dog home. If the owner of the dog that bit you did not follow these guidelines for preventing dog attacks, it strengthens your case in a dog bite lawsuit.
- The owners should socialize the dog early; in other words, they should get it used to interacting with people it does not know, so that it will not automatically see people outside its household as a threat.
- The earlier the dog starts attending puppy kindergarten, the better; dogs can start obedience training as young as eight weeks, as long as they have gotten their first set of vaccinations. Puppy kindergartens should use reward-based modification; abusive training techniques will make the dog more aggressive, not less.
- Dogs that have been spayed or neutered tend to be less aggressive.
- The owners should not leave their dogs chained or tethered in a yard. This makes the dog feel helpless and frustrated, making it more likely to be aggressive even when it is not tethered.
- The owners should not allow the dog out in public without a leash. In dog parks, where dogs are allowed to run around without leashes, the owners should keep a close eye on the dog and de-escalate any threatening situations early.
- If the dog displays any aggressive behavior, the owners should get professional behavior therapy for it, even if no one gets injured. They should not wait until the dog injures someone.
Etiquette Guidelines for Interacting With Unfamiliar Dogs
You might assume that because you are a dog owner yourself, you can tell whether another dog is about to bite, but that is not always the case. If you follow these safety guidelines, you will reduce the chances that a dog will bite you or your children. If you are the plaintiff in a dog bite lawsuit, failure to abide by these common-sense rules may decrease the amount of money you are awarded if you prevail.
- The size or breed of the dog is not what determines whether it will bite. Do not assume that, just because the dog is of a breed known for being friendly and calm, it will not attack. Some dogs bark and snarl when they feel threatened, but submissive behavior, which you might mistake for friendliness, might be the dog’s attempt to get you to leave it alone. The dog might wag its tail or roll over to de-escalate its encounter with you, but if you move closer instead of farther away, it might attack.
- Do not pet a dog through the window of a car; you are invading its personal space, and it will act as though you are trying to break into its owner’s car.
- Do not attempt to interact with a dog that is not with its owner.
- Even if you have met the dog before, the owner is present, and the dog looks like it is in a good mood, let the dog make the first move before you pet it. Let it sniff your hand, and then ask the owner if you can pet the dog.
- Do not touch or approach a dog that is eating or sleeping. When a mother dog is caring for a litter of puppies, do not approach the puppies or the mother.
- Do not allow children younger than ten to interact with a dog unless an adult is present, not even your own child and your own dog.
Keeping Children Safe From Dog Bite Injuries
Dog owners are responsible for their pets’ behavior, but parents are also responsible for keeping their children out of danger. If someone else’s dog bites your child, and you sue for damages, it is your responsibility to show that the dog owner’s negligence, not yours, was what led to the attack. If the dog attacked your child for no apparent reason, when both you and the dog’s owner were present, you have a strong case.
What to Do if You Have Been Bitten
If a dog bites you or your child, the first and most important thing to do is to seek medical attention immediately. You should also document everything you can; the medical records are important, but so are photographs and eyewitness accounts of the incident. Many times, juries will place a lot of emphasis on scars rather than the amount of medical bills you incurred because of the dog bite. You should contact a dog bite lawyer as soon after the accident as possible, but after the victim has had or her injuries examined and has received emergency treatment. Remember that not all dog bite injury claims end up in lawsuits; a dog bite injury lawyer might be able to help you recover compensation without your case even going to court. In fact, many dog bite cases are settled out of court before a lawsuit is filed.
You Need a Dog Bite Lawyer Even if You Thought the Dog Was Your Friend
Dog bites, even by a small dog, can cause very serious injuries that require expensive medical treatment. A dog bite attorney can help you recover compensation for your medical expenses and pain and suffering related to the dog attack. Contact Foster Wallace, LLC in Kansas City, Missouri for a free consultation.