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Dog Bite Accidents

5 Body Parts Most Likely to Be Injured in a Dog Attack

Dog AttackEvery year, approximately 486 people die from dog attacks, and an additional 4.5 million people report dog bites. Dogs kill and injure significantly more people per year than crocodiles, alligators, bears, and sharks combined. In fact, even if you take into account humans killed by spiders and snakes, dogs are still the leader of the pack.

Whether a dog bite leads to death or not, man’s so-called “best friend” tends to target the following body parts.

1. Hands

Hands are the body part most likely to be affected by a dog bite. This happens because people often “test” a dog’s demeanor by reaching out their hand and allowing the dog to sniff it. Additionally, hands naturally hang in a position where dogs can reach them easily.

However, the location of dog bites vary depending on the person’s relationship with the dog. When people are attacked by dogs they don’t know, the initial wounds are typically on their hands and legs, but if someone is attacked by their own dog, the bites tend occur on the face or neck.

2. Lower Extremities

Dog attack analysis shows that dogs usually try to disable the victim by attacking the limbs and trying to get the person on the floor. Because of this, people tend to get attacked on their lower extremities first.

3. Upper Extremities

If the dog successfully gets the victim to the ground, the dog goes typically for the throat, neck, and head. Generally, the human tries to protect these sensitive areas with their hands and arms, which leads to wounds in the upper extremities. Keep in mind that when dogs attack, they don’t want to play with their prey like cats – their goal is to kill.

4. Face

Children are more likely to get bitten in the face than adults. This is generally due to their shorter stature and the fact that they often play or sit on the ground. Dog bites to children can be particularly concerning and are at a higher risk for fatalities because a large dog’s mouth can create a pressure equivalent to 200 to 400 pounds per square inch.

In fact, between 1995 and 1996, 12% of the victims of fatal dog attacks in the United States were infants younger than 30 days old, and 80% of the total victims were children under the age of 11. This population is particularly susceptible to deadly attacks because of their small size and the fact that dogs can reach their vulnerable areas easily.

Children also risk intense bleeding, loss of tissue, infections, and permanent scarring. If bit in the face, both children and adults will likely need cauterizing and suturing for cuts. They may also need grafting to replace large pieces of missing tissue plus other reconstructive surgeries. Rabies and tetanus injections are also a possibility if the dog is in poor or unknown health and antibiotics will likely be needed.

5. Buttocks

Unfortunately, the buttocks are not usually exposed to a dog bite as the victim runs away. Rather, by the time the dog is attacking the buttocks, it is because the victim is on the ground, trying to protect their body, and the dog is biting the buttocks along with the lower extremities.

If you have suffered from a dog bite or if you have lost a loved one due to a dog attack, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more, contact Mazow | McCullough, PC today at 855-963-9084. We have extensive experience helping people after dog bites and other injuries, and we can help you decide how to move forward.

Massachusetts Animal Control Laws and Dog Safety

Every dog owner, as well as anyone who works with dogs, must understand the Massachusetts animal control laws in order to properly follow them. Don Famico, certified animal control officer in Salem, Massachusetts, discusses these dog laws and provides tips on dog safety. Listen or read more to stay safe from dog bites.

John Maher: Hi. I’m John Maher with the law office of Mazow McCullough and I’m here today with Don Famico, certified Animal Control Officer in Salem, Massachusetts. Welcome, Don.

Don Famico: Good morning.

John: National Dog Bite Prevention week is the second week of April. That’s April 8th to 14th in 2018, and Don is here to talk about Massachusetts Animal Control Laws. Don, what is the leash law in Massachusetts in regards to dogs and dog owners?

Don: Well, most towns have their own bylaws or ordinances. Here in Salem, a dog must be on a leash of an appropriate length. Some towns will say three feet, four feet, six feet — then there are towns that don’t have leash laws. It’s appropriate that you check with your individual town to see what the actual law is there. The towns have the right to make their own bylaws.

Dog Safety Laws in Massachusetts

John: Okay. Other than the leash law, are there other laws related to dogs and dog bites that people should be aware of?

Don: All dogs in the state of Massachusetts are required to have a rabies vaccine. That’s punishable by a fine if you don’t have it, and it can raise a lot of havoc if your dog were to become in contact with a wild animal. It’s very important that they have that rabies shot. That is one of the most important. Other vaccines are really not required by law, but they do push the rabies.

Breeds Most Likely to Bite

John: Are there certain types of dogs or dog breeds that are the worst offenders in terms of dog bites?

Don: The state of Massachusetts says you can’t discriminate against breed. I find that personally, I’ve had trouble with more smaller breeds versus the larger breeds. Some of the larger breeds will maybe give you a worse bite, but some of the smaller ones, I call them ankle biters, are just as dangerous.

John: Why do you think that that is? Do you think a larger dog may feel safer because it knows that it’s big and smaller dog maybe feels more threatened by big people?

Don: Exactly. I’m not really sure but my experience is the smaller dogs, they yip and they charge you. I’ve had less fear of the bigger ones.

Massachusetts Leash Laws

John: Like you said, most towns in Massachusetts do have a leash law, but if you do encounter a loose dog, that’s not on a leash, what should you do?

Don: Well, a lot of people are concerned, number one for the dog’s safety. You don’t see as many dogs running the streets per se. It could be a lost dog. It could be a stray of sorts that somebody might have dumped. You can call your local animal control or in [our] case in Salem, people will call the police department — not 911 but they will dial 744-1212 here in Salem and report it. Generally, they’ll send a cruiser out to evaluate and see if they can find the owner. If I’m on the road, they’ll send me to the area.

John: Okay. Some friends of mine had an accident where their son was actually bitten by a dog; it was one of those retractable leashes which kind of expands and contracts, and they have some sort of a button, I think, that locks the leash in place. It allowed the dog to run quite far away from the owner and bite this little boy. Are there any rules about the types of leashes or how they are handled or these retractable leashes?

Don: Well, again it comes down to the individual towns or cities. Here in Salem, it’s an appropriate length so that’s left to your discretion. I guess, it could be 20 feet, it could be 4 feet, but some towns are strict and say, “No longer than 4 feet, 6 feet.” Again, you have to look at the local ordinance for that particular town.

John: So, in that case, perhaps a retractable leash that goes out a lot further would not be okay.

Don: Exactly.

Animal Control Protocols After a Dog Bite

John: Right. What do you do when you’re called because of a dog bite, if somebody’s been bitten and they give you a call?

Don: Generally, we’ll try to find out who the owner of the animal is, ask them their veterinary history of the dog, show proof of rabies. If they don’t have it available, I’ll ask them who their veterinarian is so we can consult with the veterinarian to see what the dog’s history is on his inoculations.

John: Are you required by law to put a dog down because of a dog bite or another attack, or is there a certain number of strikes against that dog that have to happen before something like that would happen?

Don: Some people think it is a one strike rule, which I’ve never heard of, it depends on the circumstances. Again, if somebody’s dog bites somebody within their own home, or their own child, or their own grandmother and they’re not going to pursue it legally, there’s not much that we can do with that.

But if the dog has a history of biting, under Mass General Laws people have the right to petition the chief of police for a hearing and the Mass General Laws to declare that dog is dangerous, or to put restraining orders on the dog. Here in Salem, we also have a dangerous dog ordinance which I have the authority to order the dog muzzled and restrained. There’s a whole bunch of rules or regulations. They must post their home as having a dangerous dog. They have the right to appeal that to the chief of police. We’ve had several laws a year but, again, with all of the new laws and regulations, a lot of people are more in tune as to what their responsibilities are civilly.

How to Prevent Dog Bites

John: Right. As we are in National Dog Bite Prevention Week, what do you think is maybe the most important thing for a dog owner to know in terms of dog bite prevention? And what would be the most important thing for just an average person, who’s not the dog owner, to know during this week?

Don: Well, as we spoke earlier, it’s not only the dog owner but we also have under the state law the wording ‘dog keeper’. A keeper as any person other than the dog owner having the control or the custody of a dog at the time of an incident. For example, if you’re walking your neighbor’s dog or taking that dog for a week at your home and the dog bit somebody at your home, you’d have a civil liability on that end for that dog. The courts could be charging you as well as maybe the dog owner.

John: If you’re walking a dog, you are responsible for that dog and making sure that that dog doesn’t attack anybody.

Don: Exactly, as the keeper.

John: Then, what would be the most important thing for your average person to know during this dog bite prevention week that they can do to help prevent being bitten by a dog?

Don: I think, number one, if it’s their own dog, to take steps to keep the property safe. Maybe post up a “Beware of Dog” sign so people will know that they’re walking into a property that has a dog that they may encounter, so they can knock on around the corner and from a blind point and all of a sudden startle the dog. It’s good that the people that own the dog to post those areas.

John: Right. Then in terms of approaching a dog, what’s the one thing that somebody should know in terms of approaching a dog and to make sure that you’re not bitten?

Don: I think if they’re going to approach the dog, again, do it slowly, not to make eye contact and just not to scare the dog. Again, if the dog is wagging his tail, it’s a good sign that you’ve been accepted to come in.

John: All right. That’s great advice, Don. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Don: Thank you.

John: For more information on dog bite cases or to contact a dog bite lawyer, visit the law office of Mazow McCullough at or call (855) 693-9084.

Dog Laws and Safety for New Dog Owners (Video)

Don Famico, Animal Control Officer, shares some information for new dog owners on the Massachusetts laws regarding registration, shots, and preventing dog bites.

Hi, I’m Don Famico. I’m the Animal Control Officer with the City of Salem. Also, the Inspector of Animals within the City of Salem for the State of Massachusetts. We have some information here this morning for new dog owners. What they need to do to comply with the laws here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Number one, all dogs within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts need to have a dog registration license tag. Prior to having the dog license tag, you need to get the dog inoculated for rabies. Those are two of the most important things to start off with, as well as getting proper veterinarian care for your dog. To get the dog to a vet so that they can be screened for different diseases that dogs do have and proper medications.

You also want to teach any children, that are going to be with the dog, proper handling techniques for the dog so that they know enough not to be pulling the dog’s tail, or pulling his ears, or poking at their eyes, to prevent dog bites in the future.

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Most people love dogs and enjoy meeting new ones. However, dog bites are common, particularly among children and the elderly, so it’s important to know how to avoid being bitten by a dog. Don Famico, certified animal control officer in Salem, Massachusetts explains how to approach a dog. Listen or read more to find out what to do if you’ve been bitten by a dog.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher with the Law office of Mazow McCullough. I’m here today with Don Famico, certified Animal Control Officer in Salem, Massachusetts. Welcome, Don.

Don Famico: Good morning.

John: National Dog Bite Prevention Week is the second week of April. That’s April 8th to the14th in 2018. Don is here to talk about dog bite prevention and dog attacks. Don, who are the most common victims of dog bites?

Don: Well, we have the elderly, we have the postal carriers, and young children.

John: Okay. Why is it that dogs bite?

Why Dogs Bite

Don: Well, some of them become overprotective to their owners, they become protective to their property and protective of themselves because of past incidents with somebody who may be abusing them.

John: It doesn’t necessarily have to be that it’s a bad dog or a very aggressive dog, it can just be in a certain situation, a dog might attack.

Don: The dog may have been in a situation before and maybe you’re reminding him of those situations and they will act out.

How to Prevent a Dog Bite

John: Okay. What can you do to help prevent a dog bite?

Don: I think in most cases, the person needs to stay calm, try not to abuse it, in the case of a youngster, don’t [sic] pulling the tail or poking at it. Just be calm about the whole situation, don’t be afraid of the dogs; they can sense fear.

John: Okay. Is there something that you can do in terms of — or things that you shouldn’t do when you’re approaching a dog like make fast movements or things like that?

Don: Exactly, fast movements, you don’t want to really make eye contact with them, be moving your arms. You want to keep your fingers inside your fist so that your fingers aren’t flailing around, just go at it easy.

How to Predict if a Dog May Bite

John: Okay. Is there something in a dog’s body language that might indicate that it’s about to bite you?

Don: Well, if the hair stands up on their back or their tail usually will go underneath them and [that] shows a sign that he’s afraid or she’s afraid. I find that the hair standing up and starting to bark and growl is a great indicator.

What to do When a Dog Charges

John: Right, right. If a dog that you see and maybe the dog might be a little bit of a distance from you, but the dog sees you and just starts to charge at you, what should you do in that situation?

Don: Well, in my experiences, just stand still. You don’t want to start running as I’ve told the young children years ago. They’ve got four legs, you only have two. Stand still, don’t make eye contact with the animal, and just slowly move yourself away from the situation.

Steps to Take After a Dog Bite

John: Okay. If you are bitten by a dog, what should you do next? What are the steps that you should take?

Don: Well, number one, if it’s a stray dog, there are two parts of this. If it’s a stray dog, you want to try to find out who the owner is, obviously. But if the owner is there with the dog and you’ve been bitten and you know the owner, you want to just make sure that they show you proof that the dog is up-to-date on its rabies shots. Get any information you can from that person through a positive ID.

If they fail to give you positive ID, make sure you call the police right away because if you have to have medical treatment and you go to a hospital or your physician, they’re going to want to know about the dog’s history, on this particular rabies shots, which are required here in Massachusetts. If you can’t prove that to the doctor, they’re going to start you on a series of rabies prevention shots, which are very expensive. I think now it’s a series of like seven shots, where years ago there was a lot, double that.

John: Wow.

Don: It could run upwards to $3,000 or $4,000.

John: Wow, that’s really important to get the dog owner’s information so that the hospital or whoever can check and make sure that that dog is up-to-date with the shots.

Don: Correct. Typically, if you don’t know the person — if it’s your next-door neighbor and stuff like that, you’re going to know who they are — but they still need to prove to you that the animal is up-to-date on shots. If they don’t provide that, then you want to get a hold of the police or the animal control. I would say call the police right away and they’ll dispatch whoever is necessary to get that information for you.

How to Avoid Dogs

John: Okay. Salem, Massachusetts is a very dog-friendly city, there’s a lot of people who walk their dogs outside. It’s not always practical to walk around or cross the street just because you’re seeing a dog approaching you. What should you do in that sort of situation? Is it different for adults and children?

Don: Well, I think the party should really try to again, not make contact with the dog, try to move over the best you can, and as you say, you can’t always be running from one side of the street to the other because it can create something else, but just to step aside, let the person go. Most leashes, people keep them on are four to six feet long, give yourself that space.

How to Approach an Unknown Dog

John: Right. How should you approach both familiar and unfamiliar dogs? People like dogs and a lot of dogs like people, and they like to be petted and people like to pet dogs. If you wanted to pet somebody’s dog, how should you approach that dog?

Don: Well, you want to ask the owner first of all for permission to go over, “Is it okay to pet your dog or to have any type of contact with them?” They’ll either say, “No, you need to stay away from him. It’s a service dog,” or, “He doesn’t like people.” That’s the best thing to do: Ask permission first.

John: Okay. In that situation, the owner is the best one. They know the dog the best and so they’re able to tell you, “Hey, this dog doesn’t like children, so it’s best if you stay away.”

Don: Exactly.

John: Right. All right, that’s really great information, Don. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Don: Thank you, John, for having us.

John: For more information on dog bite cases or to contact a dog bite lawyer, visit the law office of Mazow McCullough at or call (855) 693-9084.

Dog Bite Prevention (Video)

Don Famico, Certified Animal Control Officer in Salem, MA, shares some tips on how to prevent dog bites, both for owners and non-owners of dogs.

Good morning. I’m Don Famico. I’m the Animal Control Officer with the City of Salem as well as Inspector of Animals for the State of Massachusetts. This morning, we’re here to talk about dog bite prevention. My first advice to homeowners is to maybe post a sign on the premises of your property of “beware of dogs”. At least, somebody’s coming in as a guest, they’re aware that there is a dog on the premises, so they’re not all of a sudden meeting up with this dog on the back side of the property. It just makes them alert to that fact.

The second thing is to try to educate children on the proper methods of approaching a dog. You want to make sure that they always ask permission of the dog owner to, “Can I pat the dog?” You want to make sure that they’re not bothering the dog when the dog is eating or sleeping. That’s three good points for children to be aware of. Third thing is, if you’re walking down the street and there’s a dog coming in the opposite direction, you want to either step aside, allow that dog to pass by, keep yourself at a safe distance. You don’t really want to make eye contact. If for some reason you feel as though you want to pat that dog, or make contact, be sure to ask the dog owner for permission first, if it’s permissible for you to go over and make contact with the dog.

How to Teach a Child to Avoid Dog Bites

Children are the most susceptible to dog attacks for two reasons. One, because they are small and don’t understand the limitations a dog has or the warning signs they are about to bite. Two, because a dog can often do much more damage to a child during an attack than an adult. For these reasons, it’s critical that you teach your child how to avoid dog bites.

Here are several things you need to impart on your child to keep them safe around dogs in the neighborhood.

  • Never approach a strange dog. Teach your child that if they don’t know the dog to stay away. Some dogs aren’t friendly and you often don’t know if they are or not, so it’s important to avoid the risk by staying away from dogs your child doesn’t know.
  • Watch for warning signs that a dog is agitated. If a dog is upset or feels that it is in danger, it will exhibit warning signs such as laying its ears back against its head, lowering its head to the ground, growling, and baring its teeth. Teach your child to be aware of these signals and to never make eye contact in a situation like this – simply look down towards the ground and back away slowly.
  • Never yell, hit, or approach a dog suddenly. Small children are notorious for “playing rough” with dogs, because they’re not aware of what is okay and what isn’t okay. Let your child know that hitting, yelling, or running at a dog is never okay – even if they’re playing – as this could agitate the dog and provoke an attack.
  • Curl into a ball and cover the head and neck with arms if attacked. Teach your child that if they are in a situation where they’re attacked, to yell for help and immediately curl into a ball on the ground. They should cover their head and neck with their hands and arms and curl in on themselves so the dog cannot puncture their throat or vital organs when attacking. This also protects the face from bites and disfiguration.

Teaching your child how to avoid dog bites is crucial if there are dogs in your neighborhood or even if your family has a dog, because even the sweetest, most well trained dog can attack without warning.

If your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog, you may have legal recourse against the owner of the dog who hurt your child. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we can help you put together a claim for compensation aimed at helping you recover medical bills, lost wages from time out of work spent caring for your child, and the pain, and suffering your child has gone through and may continue to go through.

Call today for a consultation toll free at (855) 693-9084 or locally at (978) 744-8000 or contact us online.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

Dog Bites: Rabies 101

Dog bites can carry many diseases that can prove serious or even life-threatening.rabies-101-mazow-mccullough However, one disease in particular has reached a level of notoriety unmatched by others: rabies. Rabies is easily the most well-known animal related disease in popular culture, with whole films based around it, but how much do you really know about it? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions about this frightening virus.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus unique to mammals. It’s primarily a neuro-virus, affecting the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Left untreated, it is universally fatal.

How is Rabies Transmitted?

Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of infected mammals, with bites being the mechanism to spread this saliva to other hosts. Other means of transmission, such as infected organ transplants, have been reported but are rarely documented.

Humans cannot spread rabies to other humans unless they are already infected by the disease. However, an animal with rabies can easily transmit the disease to a human through a single bite.

What are the Symptoms of Rabies?

Rabies first manifests in a manner similar to the flu—general discomfort, weakness, fever and/or headaches.

If left untreated, these symptoms progress to the more well-known symptoms of rabies: mental dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, and agitation. This leads to delirium, abnormal and aggressive behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia. Rabies also causes the body to overproduce saliva (as the principle mechanism of the virus’s spread) and causes difficulty swallowing. This overproduction of saliva is what gives rabid animals the appearance of foaming at the mouth. Perhaps as a combination of this, late-stage rabies is often marked by hydrophobia—the fear of water—due to an inability to drink properly.

How Long Does Rabies Take to Affect the Body or be Fatal?

Rabies works quickly—the disease becomes acute after 2 to 10 days. If the symptoms of rabies appear, the chances of the victim’s survival become slim.

Can Rabies be Cured?

Yes, but success depends heavily on catching and treating it as early as possible. Once the symptoms manifest, survival becomes incredibly unlikely. This is why it is vital to seek medical attention immediately when you have been bitten by a wild animal, an ownerless or stray dog, or by any animal that might have the possibility of being infected.

If you haven’t been exposed to rabies before, your doctor should vaccinate you with the rabies vaccine and passive antibodies to help your body fight the disease.

If you have been previously exposed and treated, or have been previously vaccinated, you should only receive the vaccine. Your body should know how to produce the antibodies necessary already.

In either case, you will need multiple vaccines at regular intervals to fully combat and treat the disease. If your doctor or hospital is unable to arrange regularly scheduled treatments, make sure that they arrange treatments with another facility or with the government so you continue to receive treatment.

There are treatments available to people who are suffering from the symptoms of rabies, but these are rarely successful. Again, if you are bitten by a wild or aggressive animal, seek treatment immediately.

What Should I Do if my Dog Was Bitten by a Rabid Animal and It Wasn’t Properly Immunized?

If you didn’t have your dog vaccinated against rabies, and you have reason to suspect that it was bitten by an animal carrying rabies, the CDC recommends that you have your pet euthanized immediately.

Obviously, that is a traumatizing recommendation, and a lot of owners will have trouble doing so without explicit proof that the attacking animal is rabid, as it can be unclear without testing. In those cases, the CDC advises owners to put their dog under quarantine for at least six months for observation, and to vaccinate it at least a month before the quarantine ends.

What is the Best Way to Prevent Rabies Infections?

The best way to control rabies among people is to control rabies in our pets. Dog bites are the most common cause of rabies cases in the United States, with children being the most common victims. Keep up to date and diligent about your dog’s rabies vaccines and make sure they are supervised when outdoors. Additionally, spaying or neutering your pets will reduce the number of unwanted stray animals, who are more likely to become infected and transmit the disease.


If you’ve been bitten by a dog and suffered from high medical costs, lost wages, or emotional trauma as a result, the experienced dog bite attorneys of Mazow | McCullough, PC can help you obtain the legal settlement you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.

All information sourced from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

What to Do If You Were Bitten by a Dog You Work With

Working with dogs can be extremely rewarding. However, because dogs can be unpredictable animals and they may attack or bite for no apparent reason. Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite can be challenging, especially if you need emergency medical care. Dog bite claims that involve your place of employment can be particularly complicated, so it’s important to consult with experienced dog bite attorneys to learn about your legal options.


Situations Where Workers Can Be Bitten by Dogs

Many people work with dogs on a daily basis. The most common examples are people who work at animal shelters or humane societies, or people who train service dogs such as law enforcement training K-9 officers.

Workers’ Compensation

Anytime you are hurt at work – be it by a dog or some other way – you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may cover some of your lost wages as you heal and may reimburse medical expenses that are related to the injury. However, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover everything and you may still be left in a financial bind even after obtaining benefits.

Was Your Place of Employment Negligent?

You may have a case against your employer if they were negligent in a way that directly resulted in your injury. If, for example, your place of employment failed to properly train you on how to handle dogs or they failed to keep a dog known to be aggressive under strict supervision, they may be able to be held liable for your injuries if you were bitten.

When to Contact an Attorney

If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite while on the job, it’s important to know your rights. Contacting an attorney who has experience in dog bite claims is key. Your lawyer can examine the evidence available in your case to determine if your employer – or someone else – can be held liable for the damages you received as a result of your injury.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for legal help after a dog bite. Dog bite law can be complicated and much of it is based on case law determined by verdicts on dog bite cases that occurred before your own. You don’t have to navigate the complex world of personal injury and dog bite law alone.

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, our dog bite attorneys can help you explore the possibility of obtaining compensation for your injuries and suffering through a dog bite claim. Call today for a consultation at (855) 693-9084 or (978) 744-8000.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

The Risk of Infection from Dog Bites

Of the 4.7 million dog bites that occur every year in the U.S., 18% — nearly 1 in 5 – become infected after not getting treated. Some dog bite infections are minor and can be treated at home, but others are more serious and may require immediate medical attention.


Minor Infections from Dog Bites

Dog bites are likely to become infected due to the amount of bacteria that live in a dog’s mouth. While most of this bacteria is harmless to humans, it only takes one of the few dangerous strains that pose a threat to you to make you sick.

Relatively minor dog bite infections can be caused by several types of bacteria. For example, Capnocytophaga spp. is a weak bacteria that rarely harms people; you could be infected with it and never feel sick. However, it can present more risk to people with compromised immune systems or preexisting medical conditions.

Another potential infector is the Pasteurella bacterium, which is found in 50% of all infected dog bites. Usually, Pasteurella simply causes a painful but local infection around the bite wound. In some circumstances, however, it can cause more dangerous symptoms such as swollen glands, painful joints, and difficulty moving. Any of these symptoms should be examined and treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Major Infections from Dog Bites

Dog bites can also cause life-threatening diseases, the most well-known and terrifying of which is the rabies virus. Affecting the brain and causing a wide array of dangerous symptoms, rabies is fatal if left untreated. Thankfully, efforts over the past century have reduced the number of domestic animals with rabies to around 7%, and only 1 to 3 cases of human rabies are reported annually. However, statistics are not a safeguard. If you have been bitten by a dog, you should bring the animal in for testing if possible. If the animal tests negative, you will not need rabies treatment. However, if the animal tests positive or you are unable to bring in the animal and determine its rabies status, it’s critical to begin treatment for rabies immediately.

Less prominent but no less dangerous potential infections include MRSA, a powerful strain of Staph bacteria that is unaffected by ordinary antibiotics. MRSA requires extensive medical attention and a battery of unique antibiotics, as it can be as life-threatening as rabies. Dog bites can also transmit tetanus, which can cause paralysis.

Signs of Infection

When a dog bite punctures the skin, you are at an increased risk for the wound to become infected. The signs of infection include pain or soreness around the injury site, redness, swelling, drainage of pus or fluid, or the development of a fever.

Additionally, loss of sensation around the wound, red streaks emanating from the wound, night sweats, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and the limited use of limbs near the wound are signs of a potentially life-threatening infection.

Preventing Infection from a Dog Bite

To care for a minor bite at home, wash the wound carefully with warm, soapy water, then apply antibiotic cream and cover with a bandage or wrap. Try and keep the injury elevated. If the wound becomes inflamed at any time or you develop a fever, seek immediate medical attention. For deeper wounds, apply firm pressure with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding, and it is recommended you call 911 or visit your local emergency room right away. Dog bites are often deeper than they appear, and it is better to exercise caution when faced with such injuries.

If you were bitten by a dog that you do not know or may appear to have rabies, or if it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.

If you were attacked by an unfamiliar dog and the owner is present, obtain the owner’s information, even if the attack seems minor. You should also notify animal control or the police to ensure that the owner has taken steps to prevent the dog from attacking someone again.

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, you may be eligible for compensation. The experienced dog bite attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, P.C. can inform you of your legal options and assist you in pursuing your claim for maximum financial restitution. Call today for a free consultation.

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There’s a Loose Dog–What Should I Do to Avoid Bites?

The majority of dog bites come from dogs we know. While this can be scary in its own right, it doesn’t match the fear that comes from being attacked by a loose, owner-less dog. There is no way to tell whether they are naturally aggressive or sick, and an aggressive dog can put you and your family in jeopardy. Here’s what you need to know in order to best safeguard your loved ones.

Distance is Key

Above all else, if you see a dog that doesn’t appear to have an owner, looks unkempt or dirty, or is displaying strange behavior, do not approach it under any circumstances. Stay as far away from it as you can. If you are near your home, you and your family should calmly and quietly go inside and securely close the doors. It is recommended that you immediately call your local Animal Control department to have the dog safely removed. Consider alerting your neighbors to the dog so they can also take precautions.

Follow Best Practices When Dealing with Dogs

If a loose dog approaches you, remain as calm as possible. The next steps you take can either increase or decrease the chances that the dog will attack you.

First, do not scream at the dog or try to run away from it. Screaming might startle or agitate the dog, increasing the chances of a violent reaction. Running might provoke the dog to chase you.

Instead, remain still if the dog approaches you and try not to make sudden movements. Dogs respond to movement and may interpret your actions as a threat.

Do not directly face a loose dog while standing still—the dog may consider this an act of aggression and attack. Keep yourself turned to the side. Additionally, dogs use eye contact as a way of asserting dominance over one another, so avoid making eye contact with the animal.

If the dog doesn’t seem to be aggressive when it approaches you, you could try telling it “No” or “Go Home” in a deep, authoritative voice. The dog may respond to this and leave you alone.

The dog will probably lose interest in you over time and will begin to wander off. When it does so, back away from it slowly and calmly until you are out of the dog’s line of sight. If you turn your back on the dog, you may be caught off guard if it does decide to attack. Once you are out of sight, quickly seek safety and call Animal Control.

Children are harmed by dogs more than adults, so teaching your children what to do if they see a loose dog is crucial to their safety.

Know What to Do If a Loose Dog Attacks

Unfortunately, even if you do everything correctly, a loose dog may still attack you. If it does, there are some techniques you can use to protect yourself.

If you have the opportunity, try to “feed” the dog an item that you have on you—your coat, purse, backpack—anything that will help to create distance between you and the dog’s bites.

If the dog knocks you down, quickly curl up into the fetal position and cover your ears with your hands. Even more importantly, use your arms to cover your neck. Dogs will instinctually aim for the jugular vein—if it is punctured, it can result in significant blood loss and quite possibly death. Covering your neck with your arms will protect this area, while covering your ears will prevent the dog from potentially damaging them. Your arms may be injured during the attack, but it is much less likely that these injuries will be life threatening.

If you continue to remain still and curled in the fetal position while protecting your neck and ears, it is likely the dog will eventually lose interest in attacking you and wander off. Once the dog is out of sight, you should get up carefully and seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites can cause more damage than may be readily apparent. A dog’s sharp teeth can cause deep puncture wounds that look less serious on the outside, but have actually significantly damaged internal tissues. Additionally, a dog’s saliva is bacteria-laden and diseases like rabies are a concern. Don’t hesitate to go to the hospital or to your family doctor after being attacked by a dog.

Call Professional Dog Bite Lawyers

Dog bite injuries can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially. If you or a loved one have been injured by a loose dog, you may have several legal options available to you. The skilled dog bite attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, P.C. can help you obtain justice and compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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