While dogs have long been considered “man’s best friend,” the sad fact is that approximately 4.5 million people suffer from dog bites each year. About one in five of those bitten require medical attention for personal injury. Even seemingly friendly, mild-tempered canines can suddenly become agitated in certain situations or with certain individuals. However, there are actions you can take to decrease the odds of a serious dog bite.
Tips for Dog Owners:
- Don’t allow your dog to roam outside without a leash.
- Spay or neuter your pet.
- Never leave your dog unattended with a young child or baby.
- Don’t play rough/aggressive games with your pup. This can inadvertently teach aggressive behaviors.
- Plan social activities into your pet’s schedule–like walks in the park or dog play groups.
- If your pet does develop aggressive behavior, seek professional advice immediately from a veterinarian or trainer.
Tips for Interacting with Dogs:
- Don’t attempt to pet a dog through its fence; seemingly friendly dogs are often territorial.
- Always ask the owner before reaching to pet any canine.
- If you meet an unattended dog, do not shout or run.
- If the dog approaches you, avoid eye contact and remain motionless until the dog passes by.
- Do not approach a dog that is eating, chewing a bone, or sleeping.
- Teach your children appropriate dog interaction skills.
Massachusetts has laws that make dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs, as long as the person who was bitten was not teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog, or not trespassing at the time of the bite. Ordinarily, these injuries are covered by insurance, although some insurance companies have begun to limit coverage for certain breeds of dog. If you are a dog owner, you should make sure injuries by your pet are covered.
If You Suffered a Dog Bite Injury
Even when taking appropriate safety measures, some dog bites are unavoidable. If you or your child sustain personal injury due to a dog bite or attack, be sure to retain as much evidence as possible–photographs, medical documents, witness contact information, etc. As experienced Massachusetts personal injury lawyers, the attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck, P.C., can help you understand your rights and the proper course of action. Contact us toll free at 800-379-1244 for a free legal consultation.
For more information on injuries caused by dog bites, visit our web page on Personal Injury Caused by Dog Bite or Dog Attack.