Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on April 22nd, 2014,
by Zane Cagle

As Weather Warms, Chances of Dog Bites Increase In Missouri

Posted on April 22nd, 2014 by Zane Cagle

dog bitesIt’s hard to look at this sweet face and imagine a dog bite attack!  While dogs are man’s best friend, just about any dog can be provoked to bite or can be put in a situation where they bite. Remember, they are an animal and no matter how sweet their disposition, their natural instinct is to bite when afraid or threatened.

As the weather becomes warmer, more people and dogs are outside thus increasing the chances of dog bites.  Be sure to keep your dog on a leash in a park where children are playing and others are involved.  Do not let just anyone approach your dog and start petting him/her.  Think of your dog like another person—Would you just want a total stranger to come up and start patting your head or neck? Or…..maybe you do? But in general, most of us do not like strangers in our personal space or touching us. Dogs feel the same way.

Just as people have been cooped up all winter, dogs are anxious to get outside and run, but you will want to closely monitor your dog in new areas and around new people.

As a dog owner, I have a hard time imagining that my big Lab would hurt anyone, but I do have to remember that barking and growling are his warnings that he might bite if hurt or if someone or something threatens the children or family.

There are almost 75 million dogs in the United States and many dog bit victims never report when bitten by a dog, so the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s estimates that about 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. Of course, that might be a low estimate.  Approximately 880,000 dog bite victims seek emergency medical care at hospitals every years.

More than 30,000 victims of dog bites undergo reconstructive surgery each year and 15-20 people die from dog bites yearly. Dogs have rounded teeth and it is the pressure exerted by their jaws that can cause significant damage to the tissues under the skin, including bones, muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves.

Some Interesting Dog Bite Facts:

  • Dog bites account for more than 90% of all animal bites
  • Injuries may involve structures deep beneath the skin including muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels
  • Infections such as tetanus and rabies need to be considered
  • Would cleaning decreases risk of infection
  • Skin repair increases the risk of infection and the decision to suture the skin balances the risk of infection versus the benefit of a better appearing scar.

Who is at Greater Risk for Dog Bites?

The risk of being bitten by a dog increases if a dog is in the home. The more dogs there are, the greater the risk. Men are more frequent victims than women who more likely to be bitten by cats. However, children between ages 5 and 9 are more likely to be bitten than any other age group and more likely to present for medical treatment.

What should I do if someone is bitten by a dog?

The dog bit victim needs to be taken to a safe place away from the dog to prevent further attack or injury.  Since a dog bite can often cause significant damage under the skin, it is important that you keep the wound elevated and if possible, wash the wound with tap water.  Most often, seeking medical attention is necessary.

Get information about the dog from the dog owner regarding the dog’s rabies and immunization status. If this is not possible often hospitals, animal control centers or law enforcement personnel can help gather that information.  This is an area where a personal injury attorney may also be able to assist you.

Just as you have to determine the severity of the dog bite in order to decide about medical attention, you may want to consider consulting a personal injury attorney. If the injury is bad or if it may cause scars, then future medical treatment may be required. Example:  a dog bite to a small child’s face may result in future plastic surgery. Certainly, time is a deciding factor, but you cannot wait years to contact an attorney.  Your first priority is medical treatment, then consult an attorney. An attorney can begin researching possible insurance coverage on the dog that attacked.  There are other factors as well including where the dog bite occurred, was the dog provoked and was the dog on a leash or in a controlled environment.

Talk to a St Louis Dog Bite Lawyer Today

Our St Louis dog bite attorneys are available seven days a week and we understand that often dog bite injuries can be serious and laws in Missouri and Illinois are different. Depending on the circumstances, the owner may have dog bite coverage through their homeowner’s insurance policy. There are many facts to consider and each dog bite attack is unique with it’s unique fact pattern.  You deserve to have your rights protected as an injured victim of a dog bite attack. Call .