In most cases, it isn’t the dog or the victim who’s to blame— it’s the owner. Unfortunately, many negligent owners fail to maintain their fences or they ignore leash laws because of a naïve belief that their pets will not harm anyone.
As Carrollton dog bite attorneys, we are painfully aware of the physical and emotional trauma victims suffer from dog attacks. By following these tips below, you can stay safe if you find yourself in the path of an aggressive or unrestrained pooch.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Whether you’re jogging through your neighborhood or taking your kids for a stroll, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. This is especially true if you live in an area where stray dogs roam around.
If you’ve got earbuds in, remove one. If you’re playing a game on your phone, put it in your pocket until you’re inside. By doing this, you can scan the horizon and hear if danger is approaching.
Know the Signs of a Dangerous Dog
While all dogs behave differently, there are generally some tell-tale signs a dog gives before attacking. Look out for these behaviors that indicate a dog might be getting ready to engage:
- Growling or barking
- Baring teeth
- Licking lips
- Stiff body or hardened muscles
- Ears back or flat on their head
Avoid the Dog if Possible
If you’re approaching an area with a seemingly aggressive dog, cross the street or walk to the other side of the road. Dogs sometimes become aggressive when they feel a stranger is invading their territory.
If you notice a dog in your neighborhood that’s prone to barking when you pass their yard, stay out of their way. This might be an inconvenience if they’re located on your daily jogging route, but it will help you reduce the chances of a conflict.
Don't Make Eye Contact
Never make direct eye contact with an aggressive dog. The dog might see this as a challenge. Instead, stand sideways with an averted gaze. An indirect view will help you monitor the dog’s behavior without looking them in the eye.
Stand Like a Tree, Don't Flee
When “fight or flight” kicks in, the natural urge is to run away. However, you should never try to outrun a dog in pursuit. Running will heighten the dog’s innate prey drive and escalate the danger. And, unless you’re an Olympic track star, this is a race you’ll never win.
Also, don’t make any sudden movements, like flailing your limbs or suddenly turning your back. Instead, stay still, stay quiet and act like you’re ignoring them. By doing this, you are neither challenging the dog nor acting like prey.
The goal is to become as boring as possible. The more uninteresting you are, the less likely they are to attack.
Control the Volume of Your Voice
While it’s natural to scream when you’re afraid, the best thing to do in this situation is to speak softly. Human excitement can quickly trigger a dog to attack. So without shouting, calmly ask someone nearby to help.
Place a Barrier Between You and the Dog
If the dog lunges at you, create a shield between you and the dog using anything you can find. This can be a jacket, handbag, backpack, trash can, or anything else nearby.
Creating this shield will remove visual stimulus, and if the dog latches onto it, you can use it as an opportunity to escape.
If you find yourself in a situation where there’s nothing to create a barrier with and there’s nobody around, curl up in a ball and protect your head and neck while waiting for help.
Use Pepper Spray
If the protective barrier doesn’t stop the dog from attacking, use pepper spray if you have some available. The same type can be used on both humans and animals and is especially effective against dogs because of their sensitive noses.
What to do When a Dog Bites
Do NOT pull away if the dog latches onto your body. Pulling away will only agitate the dog further and increase skin tearing. It might seem counter-intuitive, but instead, move your body part deeper into the dog’s mouth.
After you escape the area, wash the wound with soap and water and seek immediate medical attention to protect against infection. You’ll also need to report the bite to your local authorities. They can find the owner and determine the dog’s rabies vaccination status.
Contact An Expert Carrollton Dog Bite Attorney
If you’ve suffered from a dog bite, you understandably want justice— especially if it was due to an owner’s negligence. You need to find an experienced dog bite attorney who understands the laws and has the resources to conduct an in-depth investigation into your case.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare have over 25 years of experience handling dog bite cases. We can help you maximize your financial compensation so you can recover faster. Contact us today for a free consultation.