Preventive measures may reduce risk of dog bites

Preventive measures may reduce risk of dog bites

Countless people are hurt in dog bites across the country each year. Understanding dog behavior may help, but is not guaranteed to prevent an attack.

The vast majority of the millions of dogs owned in America do not harm people. Unfortunately, there are some that can bite and cause devastating injuries. The number of those injured by dogs may be higher than people think. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs bite more than 4.5 million people every year across the country. Out of these, about one in five need to be treated by a doctor.

4 ways to prevent dog bites

Children and senior citizens are the most likely to be seriously injured or killed by dogs. Perhaps most frightening is the fact that most dog bites are from dogs that the victim was familiar with.

Are there things that people can do to prevent dog bites? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following tips, which may be especially helpful in teaching children:

1. Children should never approach dogs they do not know.

2. If an unknown dog approaches, people should not run away or react loudly, but instead should remain still and avoid looking the dog in the eyes.

3. A dog that is sleeping, caring for puppies or eating should never be disturbed.

4. Small children should not be allowed to play unsupervised with a dog of any size.

In the event that the dog attacks, the victim should curl into a ball and protect the head and neck with his or her arms. If possible, a jacket or backpack may serve as protection.

Liability for dog bites in Florida

How does Florida law stand on the issue of pet attacks? According to The Florida Legislature, dog owners may be held liable for a victim’s injuries whether or not they knew their pet might bite. This includes a dog that had never bitten anyone before. However, the law may exclude cases in which the bite victim was trespassing on private property without permission or provoking the dog to aggression.

In Florida, more than 600 people require medical treatment in a hospital after suffering a dog bite each year, according to the Florida Department of Health. In addition, two people die as a result of injuries suffered by a dog bite annually in our state.

The Florida Department of Health conducted a study, from 2009 to 2010, to address these serious statistics. The researchers found that children in Florida, particularly those under 6 years of age and boys between the ages of 6 and 14, were most likely to suffer a dog bite. The study also revealed that many of the bites – over 85 percent in all – suffered by the youngest demographic were caused by a dog with whom the child was familiar. For older individuals, dog bites occurred most often when someone tried to break up a fight between two or more animals.

After a dog attack that injures you or a loved one, extensive medical treatment may be required. You may find it helpful to contact a Miami personal injury attorney with experience in dog bite cases to assist you in filing a claim against the dog owner.