Although pet owners have a legal obligation to keep people reasonably safe from their animals, the sad truth is that a large number of dog owners are careless and negligent, even with historically aggressive and dangerous pets. All too often, dangerous dogs roam the streets, unleashed or unattended.
What can you do to protect yourself and your children from dog bites and dog attacks in Rhode Island and Massachusetts?
- Recognize aggressive dog body language. One of the most effective ways to stop a dog attack before it starts is to be familiar with the signs of an upset or aggressive animal. Specifically, look for a tense body, a stiff tail, raised fur, an intense stare, visible eye whites, and pulled back ears. Surprisingly, yawning can be a sign that a dog is feeling tense and uncomfortable.
- Don’t scream and run away from an aggressive dog. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explains that your reaction to an aggressive dog readying for an attack may be counterintuitive. If a dog is growling, barking at you, or otherwise acting aggressively, avoid acting like prey (or competition) by running or yelling. Instead, keep still and avoid eye contact. When the dog loses interest, you should back away slowly.
- Teach your children basic dog bite safety. Kids are less likely to know basic dog bite safety rules. These include: never approaching a strange dog, always asking an owner before petting a dog, and never petting or startling a sleeping or eating dog. Half of all serious dog bite injuries involve children, and many of these incidents would be avoided if they were simply educated by their parents or caregivers.
- Don’t assume a dog is friendly. You can prevent many dog attacks simply by staying cautious and not making assumptions. A dog that has been friendly in the past may not be friendly in the future. A dog that is calm while near its owner may not be calm with strangers. A small dog, an old dog, or a dog on a leash can still be aggressive and dangerous.
In addition to the above, it is also important to report loose dogs and aggressive dogs to your local animal control department or police station. Even if you are aware of how to avoid a dog attack incident involving these roaming animals, other people in your neighborhood, especially children and the elderly, may not be.
Request a Dog Bite Case Evaluation at the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC Today
It is critical to understand that dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs from harming others. Even if you did not do everything listed above in order to prevent a dog bite injury, you may still have a valid personal injury claim and you may still be able to collect compensation for any damages. To learn more about your Rhode Island or Massachusetts dog bite case, please request a free, private consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Call today at (401) 777-7777, or fill out our contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.