Each year, over 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs. Most of these victims are children. According to the Department of Health, 6,600 children under the age of 20 must receive treatment at a hospital because of a dog bite in the state of New York. Over 200 of these victim children suffer a dog bite injury severe enough to require a hospital stay. In 2015, there were two fatalities as a result of a dog attack.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
No matter the size, breed, gender, or age of the dog, any of them can bite if provoked. Dogs and puppies usually bite as a reaction to something. If they feel like they are in a stressful situation, biting may be their way of defending themselves or claiming their territory. Furthermore, dogs may bite if they are scared or feel threatened. Often this occurs in puppies and dogs that have been abused. They may bite to protect something valuable to them like their food or a toy. If the dog is not feeling well, they may think biting is the only way to be left alone. Also, dogs may bite during play. While they think it is all in good fun, it could be dangerous for the person the puppy is playing around with.
Dog Bite Prevention
The first way to prevent bites is to educate yourself and others in dog bite prevention. The dog owner should also practice responsible dog ownership. In addition, familiarizing yourself with your dog’s body language will help you better understand how and when your pet is feeling anxious or aggressive. Below are seven tips on preventing being a dog bite victim…
- Spay or neuter your pet – neutered pets tend to be calmer and less likely to be aggressive in certain situations.
- Train your pet – take your dog to obedience classes that use positive reinforcement.
- Make your dog’s environment a positive one – If you give your puppy lots of love and train using positive methods like clicker training, your pet may be less likely to feel threatened and bite.
- Supervise your dog – do not assume your dog will be okay with anyone who approaches. Do not allow children to hug or kiss your pet as the contact may be alarming to your dog.
- Parents teach your children to never tease a dog – tell your young ones to not disturb an animal that is sleeping or eating.
- Parents teach your children that dogs do not like kisses and hugs – Face to face contact is a common cause for bites to the face. Teach your children to carefully approach and gently pet a dog, and ONLY with the permission of and under the guidance of the dog’s owner.
- Parents teach your children if a strange dog approaches…stand still – If your child stands like a statue, the unfamiliar dog will get bored and leave.
What To Do If A Dog Bites You
If you suffer from a dog bite at home, place a clean towel on the injury to stop the bleeding. Be sure to keep the injured area elevated. Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Then, apply a clean dressing to protect the wound.
Once you have the wound protected, you must seek medical attention immediately. It is best to consult a medical professional who knows how to administer dog bite first aid as the wounds may require stitches or further treatments such as plastic surgery. You may also need to be tested for infections and other diseases including rabies if Animal Control is unable to confirm whether the dog is up to date with its vaccinations.
If your injuries are serious and medical expenses are extensive, you may wish to consult a personal injury lawyer in an effort to sue for compensation. Be sure to take photographs depicting any scarring resulting from a dog bite in order to properly present your dog bite lawsuit.
Who Is Liable If A Dog Bites?
In New York State, dog bite liability can be confusing. Dog bite laws state that the owner or keeper of a “dangerous dog” is liable solely for medical expenses of the victim and veterinary costs. In particular, under NYS’ Agriculture & Markets Law, Section 121, the owner or keeper of a “dangerous dog” is liable for medical expenses of the victim and veterinary costs. However, the conduct of the victim can exempt a dog from “dangerous” status. A “dangerous dog”, under Section 108.24(a), means any dog which (i) without justification attacks a person, companion animal, farm animal, or domestic animal and causes physical injury or death, or (ii) behaves in a manner which a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to one or more persons, companion animals, farm animals or domestic animals or (iii) without justification attacks a service dog, guide dog or hearing dog and causes physical injury or death.
However, for further damages, including, pain and suffering, New York State requires the victim to prove the dog had the dangerous habit or propensity to bite people and the owner was aware of this tendency. To accomplish this, victims usually consult a dog bite lawyer. Victims are not permitted to file a dog bite lawsuit to receive compensation on the argument of negligence of the dog owner in New York State.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite injury, you need The People’s Lawyer on your side. Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman are a team of experienced dog bite attorneys who understand the dog bite laws in New York State and liability. Contact our office for a free consultation today.
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