What are ways I can protect myself from dog bites?

What are ways I can protect myself from dog bites?

Dogs have lived among humans as their companions for at least 10,000 years; new research suggests it may even be as long as 40,000 years. Today, almost half of all American households have one or more dogs as pets. Given these numbers, it’s not surprising that there are sometimes negative interactions between dogs and people.Dog lovers will swear that dogs are harmless, but 4.5 million reported dog bites every year tell a different story. Sometimes, dogs bite because they are provoked and other times they attack because they are protecting someone or something. While Utah law holds the dog’s owner responsible for the dog’s action, it can come too late for an injured victim.

How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog

No matter how much you like and trust dogs, you should never approach a strange dog and only approach dogs you know with caution—even if the owner encourages you to pet the dog. It is especially important to teach this to young children, along with the following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Never run from a dog.
  • Do not panic or make loud noises.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Always allow a dog to see and sniff you first before petting it.
  • Do not encourage your own dog to play aggressively.
  • Never let small children play with a dog unsupervised—even your own trusted canine.

Every dog should be seen as a potential biter and treated with caution. If a dog is aggressive towards you despite the safety precautions you have taken, be prepared for an attack by learning how to react.

What to Do If You Are Attacked

The CDC has advises that you do the following if a dog comes at you in an aggressive manner:

  • Put your purse, bag, or jacket between you and the dog to protect yourself.
  • If you are knocked down, curl into a ball with your head tucked in and your hands over your ears and neck.
  • When you get to a safe place, immediately wash wounds with soap and water. Seek medical attention, especially if the wound is serious; if it becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; or if you develop a fever.
  • If it has been more than five years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep, you should also see a doctor.
  • Because anyone who is bitten by a dog is at risk of getting rabies, consider contacting your local animal control agency or police department to report the incident, especially if you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
  • If the dog appears sick or is acting strangely, report the incident to animal control or the police.
  • If possible, contact the owner and ensure the animal has a current rabies vaccination. You will need the rabies vaccine license number, name of the veterinarian who administered the vaccine, and the owner’s name, address, and phone number.

Your Next Call Should Be to an Attorney

Once you have seen to your own health and safety, it is time to contact an attorney about pursuing compensation for your injuries. Utah law protects victims of dog bites, but the legal process can be complex. William Enoch Andrews has the experience with Utah’s dog bite law that you will want on your side. Connect with his office now through the link on this page.