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.