There is no shortage of headlines appearing in the news about fatal dog attacks and maulings causing serious injuries. Many families in Las Vegas count dogs as part of the family. Unfortunately, dog bites are not at all uncommon.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 4 million recordable cases of dog bites in the country every year. Out of these, about one fifth are serious enough to need medical attention. It may be surprising for people to learn that the majority of dog bites are from dogs that the victims knew. In many cases, these are the family pets. In fact, children and elderly people are the most at risk of being bitten by a family dog.
Some attacks may be prevented if people, especially children, understand safe behavior around dogs. DogsBite.org makes the following points about proper dog interaction:
- Do not disturb a sleeping, eating or nursing dog.
- Avoid playing too roughly with the family pet.
- Do not approach unfamiliar (stray) dogs or pet an unknown dog without the owner’s permission.
- Do not allow young children to play with dogs unsupervised or to mistreat a pet.
Is there anything a potential attack victim can do to minimize the chances of being hurt? If faced with a dog that is acting aggressively, it is best to stand still and avoid making eye contact. Running and screaming will often provoke a chase response in the dog. If the dog appears uninterested, it may then be safe to slowly back away. If the dog lunges, the person might try putting an object between him or her and the dog to avoid being bitten, such as a skateboard, jacket, backpack or the like. If knocked to the ground, it is recommended to wrap the arms around the head and neck and remain still and quiet.
In some cases, the responsibility for a dog attack falls to the owner. This could include instances in which the owner failed to restrain the dog behind a fence or on a leash, or allowed a dog that was known to be aggressive to interact with people without proper warning, supervision or restraint.