In America, the dog truly is man’s best friend. It is estimated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) that there are about 75 million dogs in our country and that about 42% of all households have at least one as a pet. With the hound’s popularity so dramatically high, it is no surprise that not all of these animals are being raised and tamed responsibly. When an owner is negligent in controlling their companion, dangerous dog bites and attacks can occur.
When is a Dog Most Likely to Attack?
Perhaps the best way to avoid a dog bite injury is to be able to recognize when a dog is getting ready to attack. A variety of factors can turn a passive dog aggressive, including loud noises and commotions, exposure to a new place, and someone entering their territory. When you are near a dog, keep an eye out for body language that reveals its agitation, including:
- Revealed teeth and snarling
- Staring down with no “expression”
- Raised hackles (razorback)
- Rigid legs in a wide-shouldered stance
How to Defuse a Potential Dog Attack Situation
If you believe that you are in a position where a dog is likely to try to bite you, even though you have done your best not to provoke its aggression, there are still steps you can take to try to ward off its attack. Keep in mind that these are not guaranteed to work and you will need to read the situation as best you can to avoid harm.
- Do not panic: Erratic movements may further upset the animal.
- Remain motionless: Try to stand rigid and face slightly away from the dog without staring it down; this could show the dog you mean no harm. Running away could potentially trigger the animal’s instincts to chase prey.
- Use a distraction: If you have anything you can throw or set aside to get the animal’s attention, do so.
- Command: Even an aggressive dog without a collar could be trained. Use a stern voice and command it to “stay”, “back away”, or “sit”. In some circumstances, a dog you do not know will listen to these orders as if you were its master.
- Leave slowly: When the animal seems to be backing off, once again try not to run. Leaving slowly and calmly will show you are not a threat.
What to Do If You Are Bitten
In the unfortunate scenario that you are actually bitten by someone else’s dog, you need to seek medical attention as soon as you can to avoid a life-threatening infection. If you are able to identify the dog’s owner, you should also call the police. Collect any reports or records from either of these sources to use in your insurance claim. You may also have to prove that you were not trespassing or harming the animal before the attack, so be sure to ask any witnesses to provide a testimony.
In New York State, there is a mixed liability rule for dog bite laws. If you are bitten by a dog, in most cases, the dog’s owner will automatically be liable for medical bills. They will not be held accountable for any other damages, though, such as missed wages while you recover. If you seek compensation for your pain and suffering, you should seek the help of a personal injury lawyer to help you file a claim and seek nominal and punitive damages.
If you have been bitten by a dog in New York and want to file your personal injury claim, speak to a Long Island dog bite attorney from The Odierno Law Firm, P.C. today. We work only on contingency fees – you don’t pay us unless we win for you – and offer free case evaluations, so you have no reason to delay. Call 877.379.5144 now for professional representation.