The Centers for Disease Controls estimates that nearly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and that 885,000 of those have injuries severe enough to warrant an emergency room visit. Still, sadly, some of these bites and attacks are fatal. The situation becomes even more sad when children are involved, a number roughly around 400,000. Dog bites and attacks can occur randomly, but rarely does a dog bite without some type of reason. Ranging from being spooked, potentially provoked, taunted, or protecting its territory, it’s important to remember that dogs are still animals, originating from wild animals that over time became domesticated. Anything can happen when a dog is involved.
In a sad case earlier in October, parents put their small child on a zoo ledge to look at the wild dog enclosure below, a common exhibit at the city zoo. The parents lost hold and the child fell into the enclosure below, and was quickly attacked fatally by the wild dogs investigating a new object in their territory. Dogs are instinctive to attack, and these dogs were no exception–someone invaded their territory, they did what they had to do, and knew how to do in order to protect their pack. But, what about the random dog, or family dog who attacks a visitor or child? Here are some things to keep in mind.
- No matter how friendly you find a dog, never pet the dog from above the head. The dog can’t see what is up there, and may jump at you or bite toward your hand.
- Be aware of dogs that roam in twos or in a pack. Some dogs are inherently conditioned to surround a victim.
- Never tease or taunt a dog, and instruct your child to never do the same.
- Never get your face too close to a dog, or let your child go face-to-face with a furry friend.
If you have been bitten by a dog, you know the bite could range from a minor laceration to a full blown open wound. Dog bites have been known to split skulls, break skin, and disfigure parts of the body beyond repair. Regardless of how severe the bite, always seek medical attention when you have been bitten by a dog. There, they will treat it for infection and possible rabies. Likely, the dog will be quarantined for ten days or more, depending on your state regulations.
Dog bites are serious, and if you have a been bitten, you will want to talk with a New York attorney who can assist you with your case.