Americans love dogs. In fact, the United States has more dogs per capita than any other country in the world. Although dogs may be “man’s best friend”, it does not mean that a dog will not bite the hand, or leg or foot, of the person who feeds it. While dogs can be great companions it is important to keep in mind that dogs can and do bite, especially when provoked. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that each year close to 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog. Approximately twenty percent (20%) of all incidents of dog bites require the victim to seek medical attention. To keep you and your family safe around dogs, keep in mind these valuable safety tips:
- Do not judge a dog by its breed: Do not think that just because you are familiar with a strange dog’s breed that the dog is safe to approach. Any breed of dog has the capability to bite. The media often makes it seem that only certain breeds of dogs bite, while other breeds are “safe”. This is just not true. The best advice is to always exercise caution around dogs, especially a strange dog.
- Always supervise young children around any dog: A dog may have a great reputation of being good with children. However, a dog should never be left alone with a small child. This advice even holds true for dog owners and their own young children. A toddler can easily pull a dog’s tail or poke it in the eye—which could provoke an otherwise docile dog.
- Teach your children dog safety: About 50% of the people bitten by dogs each year are children. To help prevent your child from becoming a dog bite victim take the time to teach your child how to be safe around dogs. Explain to them to never:
- Pet a dog without obtaining the owner’s permission first;
- Pet a dog without first giving the dog the opportunity to sniff you;
- Approach a dog that is eating or sleeping; and/or
- Play aggressively or otherwise provoke a dog.
- Do your homework before adopting a dog: Although any dog, regardless of breed can bite, it is best to talk with a reputable breeder, veterinarian or animal shelter advocate before adopting a dog. He or she can help you select a dog that is the right fit for your family. Remember that dogs, like people, have different personalities. Take the time to find the right dog for your family dynamic. Once you have adopted your new canine friend, enroll him or her in obedience training.
- Seek immediate medical attention: If you or a family member is bitten by a dog, the first step is to get the victim to a safe place. Next, you will want to seek medical attention. The problem with dog bites is that often the majority of the injury lies below the skin’s surface, making it difficult for the average person to judge the severity of the injury. If possible try to determine if the dog who bite the victim is current on its shots.
If you or your child suffered serious injuries from a dog bite, you need to speak with an experienced Oklahoma Personal Injury Attorney. Only seasoned Oklahoma Dog Bite Lawyers can assist you in obtaining the compensation you are owed. The skilled Personal Injury Attorneys at The Handley Law Center understand Oklahoma’s strict liability statute for dog owners and will fight to make sure that your rights are protected. Contact The Handley Law Center at (405) 295-1924 today to schedule your free and completely confidential consultation. You can trust the attorneys at The Handley Law Center to provide you with aggressive representation.