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Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on May 19th, 2014,
by Zane Cagle

Dog Bite Prevention Week Kicks Off May 18, 2014

Posted on May 19th, 2014 by Zane Cagle

dog bite weekThere are an estimated 70 million dogs living in U.S. households. Millions of people, mostly children, are bitten by dogs every year and in most incidents, the bite was preventable. Dog Bite Prevention Awareness Week is focused on educating people about preventing dog bites. Some dog bite facts:

* Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs

* Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention

*Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical care for dog bites, at least half of them are children

* Children are by far the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be serverly injured

* Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs

* Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims

There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites including properly training and socializing your pet and educating your children on how to approach and interact with a dog.

 Dog Bite Prevention: Responsible Dog Ownership–Who Doesn’t Like a Puppy?!

Dogs are great additions to the family. Our family is just not complete without the antics and entertainment of our dog, Tink.  If you have a dog, it is critical to be sure that you socialize your pet. If you are thinking of becoming a dog owner, there are some factors to consider. All dog owners must practice responsible dog ownership.  Responsible dog ownership includes the following principles:

  • Carefully select your dog. Puppies should not be obtained on an impulse. Who doesn’t like a puppy? However, before you select a puppy, you must consider what their needs as an adult will be such as their housing, diet and medical needs. It is important that their needs match your lifestyle. As well, if you have children, certain breeds may be more appropriate than others.
  •  Make sure your dog is socialized at a young age so it feels at ease with people and other animals.
  • Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.  A dog’s natural reaction is to bite if it feels threatened or teased.  They cannot speak and ask you to stop and their first response to danger may be a growl but a bite may follow.
  • Train your dog to follow the basic commands of “sit”, “stay”, “no” and “come”. Knowing the basic commands helps dogs understand the expected behavior and allows a bond of trust to be developed when they are successfully incorporated into fun activities
  • Avoid highly excitable games such as wrestling and tug-of-war
  • Use a lease in public to ensure you are able to control your dog and to show others that you are in control of your dog
  • Keep your dog healthy including vaccinations and parasite control.  This is not only important as it makes them more healthy to be around but just like people, the way a dog feels impacts how it behaves.
  • Neuter or spay your dog
  • If you have a fenced yard, make sure gates and fences are secure

Some Considerations of Dog Ownership

If you dog does bite someone, then you will probably be found liable unless the person was antagonizing the dog.  A dog bite injury occurs on average, every 40 seconds in the U.S.  Often the dog attacks the victim’s face which can result in costly medical treatment. Most people are not bitten because they “antagonize” an animal but the bites usually occur in common everyday occurrences. Such as the person may approach the dog too quickly or not even know they are close to a strange dog until it is too late.

You may want to consult your home owners or home renter’s insurance policy as it may have certain exclusions of certain breeds of dogs.  Some “blacklisted” breeds such as Akitas, Alaskan malamutes, Presa Canarios, Chow chows, Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, pit bull terriers, Rottweilers and Siberian huskies are excluded from some insurance company policies.  Insurance companies vary on the breeds that they will not cover in a typical home owner, renter, motor home owner or condo owner policy.  If the breed is not covered, you can apply for dog owner liability insurance available from special at-risk underwriters.

If you have a dog, you want to be sure dog bite liability is covered in your home owner/renter policy. While there are 70 million dogs and most of them are lovable additions to their families. It is a fact that in the right condition, any dog can bite. So, prevent but be insured on the off chance that your pet does bite someone.

During Dog Bite Prevention Week, we will also discuss the “One-Bite” rule verses “Strict liability” in dog bite liability.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog and have sustained a serious injury, then you may need a dog bite attorney.  Thankfully, dog bites frequently are minor in nature, but all too often small children are seriously injured. Medical bills and permanent disfiguring can be financially devastating.  Call (314) 276-1681 if you have an injury that you need to discuss.