Americans own 78 million dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, and about 4.5 million people across the country are bitten by dogs each year. According to studies, last year more people in Florida were bit by a dog when compared with Texas and California residents.
There are several things you can do to help prevent dog attacks:
- Understand children are most at risk: The CDC reports children between 5-9 have the highest risk of dog bites. If you have children in this age range, understand you may need to take added care.
- Learn more about dogs: All dogs can become aggressive if they are scared, ill, or struggling in some other way. Learning about dog behavior can help you and your kids understand when you back away. The American Veterinary Medical Association has a video series teaching dog bite prevention to kids. Watch this series with your children to help them learn more about dogs.
- Use supervision: Children should be supervised around dogs at all times, especially if they are around dogs they do not know. Even at home, children should be supervised to ensure they do not pick up bad habits, such as teasing, which can lead to dog bites.
- Report aggressive dogs: If you notice dog owners who do not keep their pets on a leash, report them to your city. Do the same with aggressive dogs. You may be able to prevent a dog attack.
- Protect your dog and property: If you own a dog, make sure your dog is always correctly supervised and on a leash. Do not leave your dog outside in a fenced-in yard where passersby can engage him or her or can tease the animal. You can protect yourself from a property liability claim and keep your dog safer this way.
- Take your dog to obedience classes and the vet: If you own a dog, make sure the dog gets adequate vet attention, regular vacations, and care. If you notice any symptoms, take your dog into the vet; illness can make even the most docile pet bite. Address any behavior and obedience issues early with proper training, obedience classes and the help of a professional, if needed. Behavior issues and aggressive behaviors will likely get worse if they are not addressed promptly.
Have you or your child been injured by a dog? Unfortunately, the costs of such an attack are considerable. Victims often need cosmetic surgery, which is not covered by medical insurance, and may need counseling or therapy. A dog’s jaws can be powerful enough to break bones and do serious damage to tendons, muscles, joints, and ligaments. Mobility after an attack can be hampered and you may need months or years of rehabilitation to recover.
Filing a claim can help you recover medical expenses, lost income and other costs associated with your injury. To find out whether you may have a claim, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free consultation with a Homestead dog bite attorney. We have offices in Homestead, Hollywood and Miami serving the entire South Florida area.