For many people, dogs are beloved pets that are treated as one of the family. However, not all dogs are man's best friend. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every year. Sadly, about half of these bites are experienced by children. While some bites are only minor, about 885,000 or one in five resulting injuries are so serious that they require medical attention. Dog bites can result in serious injury and even death in small children. Because of this, pet owners have a responsibility to train their dogs and to prevent them for hurting anyone. Even a family pet with no history of aggression should be supervised when in the presence of a small child. Pet owners who neglect this responsibility can be held liable for the injuries their dog inflicts.
On their Home and Recreational Safety information site, the CDC talks about what groups are most at risk of a dog bite or attack. As mentioned earlier, children are the most likely group to receive dog bites. Children can often be unpredictable and may do things to unwittingly threaten or irritate the dog casing it to lash out. Dog bite related injuries are highest in an age group between 5 and 9 years old and children make up about 50% of the total number of dog bite victims in the U.S. Additionally, children who are bitten are more likely to require medical attention, likely due to the fact that they are smaller and their faces are closer to dogs' mouths making facial attacks more common. Adult males are also more at risk to dog bites and females. This is often because a dog sees an adult male as an aggressor or as challenging them for dominance.
Recommended Steps for Dog Owners
In order to reduce the number of accidents caused by dog bites, the CDC lists several steps that all pet owners should take to ensure their dogs do not hurt anyone. Steps include the following:
- Research before they adopt: While all dog breeds are capable of biting, the CDC recommends that families research breed personalities before they adopt in order to make sure that they find a good fit for their household.
- Spay or neuter the dog: By getting an animal fixed, it cuts down on their aggressive tendencies and will reduce its chances of asserting its dominance.
- Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog: Even a family pet should not be trusted around a young child especially if that child is a guest who has not spent a long period of time around the animal.
- Properly socialize and train your dog: Dogs should be trained and taught submissive behaviors. Well-trained dogs are more likely to be submissive.
- Immediately seek advice if you witness any aggressive behavior: Any sign that your pet may have aggressive tendencies should be a red flag to dog owners. Even if a dog is bought for protection of the home, aggressive tendencies mean that the animal is capable of hurting visitors or even the owner themselves.
Because most of this advice is common sense, a dog owner who fails to follow these steps could be considered a negligent pet owner in the event that their dog bites another person. When a person's injury results from another party's negligence in New Hampshire, the victim may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills and other expenses.
Dog Bites Injuries
When dogs attack, they can do a lot of damage. Depending on the type of attack, a dog bite can range from a single nip to a number of bites and scratches causing severe injury. Children are the most likely to be severely hurt in a dog attack and can suffer lacerations, bruising and disfigurement. The CDC reports that in 2012 more than 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery after being attacked by a dog. In addition to the physical pain, children attacked by dogs at a young age can often experience a lifetime of anxiety and fear around animals.
Because their dangers are well-known, dog owners should be aware of the threat that their animals pose to other people, especially children. The fact that the dog has never bitten before is not a strong defense in an animal injury case and care should always be taken when a pet interacts with others. Anyone who is hurt by a dog or family pet in New Hampshire should contact an injury attorney to find out more about seeking compensation for their injuries. A dog bite can often result in the need for medical treatment, shots and even reconstructive surgery, all of which come at a steep price. To find out more about your rights as a victim, contact Russman Law today.