It is almost impossible to walk down any residential street in Philadelphia or any other community in America without seeing a dog. The fact that dogs appear to be everywhere might account for the 4.5 million people who are bitten each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dogs might be cute and cuddly, but the parents of almost 450,000 children who required medical treatment after they were bitten by dogs might disagree.
Avoiding becoming a victim of a dog bite is not as simple as steering clear of particular breeds or avoiding dogs that might look vicious. The sad truth is that any dog has the potential to deliver a painful bite under the right circumstances. There are a few steps you can take to prevent yourself or a member of your family from becoming a dog bite victim.
Never leave a small child alone with a dog
Children see dogs as cuddly toys that move. Putting your fingers in the ear of an inanimate object will not trigger a bite, but dogs are not playthings. Even the family dog might respond in an aggressive manner to a poke or jolt by the toddler living in the home, if the child’s act causes pain.
Parents should teach their young children that they should never approach a strange dog that is roaming loose on the street is in an unfenced yard. They should also be taught not to put their hands or fingers through a fence to pet a dog. Children should learn that petting a dog is only allowed when their parents or another responsible adult tells them they can do so.
Never run or ride a bicycle past a strange dog
Dogs respond to movement by wanting to give chase. If you encounter a strange dog while you are out for your morning jog or bicycle ride, the safest thing to do is to stop running or dismount. Walking past the animal or going in a different direction is less likely to trigger a chase response.
Never approach a sleeping dog
Dogs can be extremely possessive of toys, chews, food, and their puppies, and they might interpret your approach as a threat. Unless you know the dog, wait to approach until the animal is focused on something else. This advice also applies to dogs that are sleeping. A startled dog might react by biting what it perceives as a threat.
What to do if you are bitten?
Dog owners have an obligation to keep their pets under control. If you are the victim of an attack by a dog, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.
Pennsylvania dog bite attorney Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, Esq. offers a free consultation during which he will review your case and address your questions and concerns. Schedule an appointment by calling 215-987-3550 (office) or 215-771-0430 (cell), or you can fill out the online contact form and we will contact you within 24 hours.