In 2012, 38 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred. Out of those 38 fatal attacks, 32% of the victims were either visiting or living temporarily with the owner of the dog when these attacks happened. Of those attacked, 50% were children, ages 8-years-old and younger, and the remaining half were adults, 21-years-old and above.
How to prevent a dog attack
Kentucky has a strict liability law when it comes to dog bites. This means the owner is liable for their dog's actions. Owners are liable for any damage, to both property and people, and physical harm their dog cause. It only takes one incident. Here are five tips to avoid being bitten by a dog and prevent becoming a victim:
- Do not disturb a dog. Keep quiet and stay away from a dog when they are sleeping, eating, drinking, chewing a toy or nursing puppies.
- Avoid touching a dog’s feet, tail and ears. Most dogs do not want to be touched on these parts. If you do try to touch or pet these areas, they may act defensively.
- Respect a dog’s territory. A dog is protective of its space. If you try to invade that space without permission, the dog may become aggressive.
- Stay still. If you think running is the best way to escape from a dog, think again. Running will only provoke the dog. It will never stop until it catches you. If you encounter a dog that seems aggressive, you should not move and be still or back away very slowly without making eye contact.
- Look away and keep calm. If the dog is about to attack, avoid making eye contact with the dog. Making eye contact makes the dog think you are challenging it. Stay motionless with hands at your side. Remain calm and do not shout. In case the dog does attack, use your bag, jacket or anything to put between yourself and the dog. If you have been knocked to the ground, curl into a fetal position and cover your head and neck.
Pet owners are liable for their dog's actions
In Kentucky, a pet owner is responsible for the actions and behavior of his or her dog. Hence, it is important to train your pet to behave properly. Take precautions when other people visit your home. Your pet is not familiar with them, and it may have the instinct to protect you and your house. It is also recommended to spay or neuter your dog. Dogs that are spayed or neutered are three times less likely to bite. Also, once your dog is spayed or neutered, it will be healthier and live longer.
As a Kentucky Dog Bite Attorney, I want to remind everyone to never approach a dog that is scared or growling. These are both signs that the dog may attack. If you are bit by a dog, call the local animal control and the police. They will document the event and try and catch the dog so it can be tested for diseases like rabies. If you feel like legal actions are necessary, then you should also contact a personal injury attorney. They will guide you through your case so you can focus on healing.