It has often been said that a dog is a man’s best friend. With nearly 70 million dogs throughout the United States, it seems that most Americans would agree with this. About 37% of households throughout the country have at least one dog, which comes out to one dog per every 4.5 people in the country. With this many dogs in the country, it’s quite likely that you will encounter one or more of them at some point throughout your life. It is therefore important to protect yourself from being bitten by a dog.
This past Saturday marked the end of National Dog Bite Prevention Week here in the United States. The event, which takes place yearly during the third week in May, was organized and coordinated by the American Veterinary Medical Association, and sought to spread awareness as to the frequency of and risk associated with dog bites. According to the AMVA, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States. Of these, nearly 20% require and seek medical attention, half of which are children.
Dog bites are among the top ten leading causes of nonfatal injury to children between the ages 1-14. In addition to children, postal employees and the elderly are most frequently bitten by dogs; in 2013 almost 5600 postal carriers were bitten by dogs. These dog bites, in addition to being painful, are also quite costly. The Insurance information Institute reported that just over $480 million was paid by insurance companies in settling dog bite claims in 2013.
How to Prevent a Dog Bite Injury
Statistics relating to dog bites here in Florida echo those at the national level. Over 600 people are hospitalized every year in Florida due to dog bites. Children under 10 years of age continue to be at the greatest risk for being bitten by a dog, and are more likely to be attacked at the head or neck than those outside the age group.
A state-wide analysis has shown that dog bites in Florida are most often caused by “inappropriate behavior management,” which can include touching a dog against its will (for example, when it is sleeping), going near a dog when it is eating or chewing on a toy, and roughhousing. In spite of these statistics, there are some simple ways to prevent you and your loved ones from being bitten by a dog:
- Supervise Children Around Dogs – teach your children not to interact with any dogs without an adult being present. Also teach them not to approach stray or other unfamiliar dogs in the streets.
- Keep Your Dog Leashed and Vaccinated – unleashed dogs account for nearly one third of all dog bites. Make sure you are acting in accordance with your state’s leash laws.
- Spay or Neuter Your Dog – some evidence has shown that spaying/neutering your dog can decrease the incidence of dog bites, especially from male dogs.
If you are being attacked by a dog, do not run away from it or scream loudly, as this will only serve to further aggravate it. Instead, you should tuck yourself into a ball and remain motionless, with your hands protecting your face. If you are bitten by a dog, immediately wash the wound with soap or water and cover it to control bleeding. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible, to avoid possible complications from the potential presence of rabies.
If you or any of your loved ones have been the victim of a dog bite, you need an experienced and qualified attorney on your side. Contact the legal team at Todd Miner Law for further information.