Dog Bite Prevention Week – 2014
Posted in Accident & Injury on May 19, 2014
By now you’ve probably seen the viral video of “Tara,” a family cat saving a young boy from a dog attack. Unfortunately, dogs bite more than 4 million Americans annually, half of which are children. While not all bites are severe, one in five dog bites results in injuries serious enough to require medical attention.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (May 18-24, 2014), is an annual event designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a serious public health issue.
To reduce the chances of your dog biting someone, the Insurance Information Institute recommends taking the following steps:
- Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household and neighborhood.
- Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a home with an infant or toddler. A dog with a history of aggression is inappropriate in a household with children.
- Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful of or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
- Socialize your dog so it knows how to act with other people and animals.
- Discourage children from disturbing a dog that is eating or sleeping.
- Play non-aggressive games with your dog, such as “go fetch.” Playing aggressive games like tug-of-war” can encourage inappropriate behavior.
- Avoid exposing your dog to new situations in which you are unsure of its response.
- Never approach a strange dog and always avoid eye contact with a dog that appears threatening.
- Immediately seek professional advice from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders if your dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.
The Ohio Revised Code (955.28) imposes strict liability in dog bite cases. That means anyone who owns, harbors or keeps a dog is liable whenever his dog bites, injures or causes a loss to a person or to the property of a person—even if the dog has never bitten anyone one before—unless the injured individual was trespassing or committing a criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor on the property. (Beckett v. Warren, 124 Ohio St. 3d 256, 2010-Ohio-4, 921 N.E.2d 624, ¶ 10.)
What to do after a dog bite
If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, try not to panic.
- Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Call 911 or contact your physician for additional care and advice.
- Report the bite to your local animal care and control agency. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including his owner’s name and the address where he lives. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw him, whether you’ve seen him before, and in which direction he went.
- Contact an experienced dog bite attorney to investigate your case and protect your legal rights.
For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/index.html