According to the ASPCA, nearly half of all American households currently have a cat or dog; numbers hover just under 40% for cats and nearly 50% for dogs. While pets are a wonderful addition to a family, pet ownership comes with legal responsibilities.
Below you can read about the steps that can be taken towards safe and responsible ownership. This article will be geared more towards dog owners, but the same principles apply no matter what sort of animal a person may have.
Vaccinate Your Pet
Dogs are great, but like many animals, they can often be unpredictable and even prone to biting. According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. every year; nearly a million of these bites require medical attention.
Staying on top of a vaccination schedule recommended by the animal’s veterinarian or as required by state and local regulations can help ensure that should a dog ever bite, he won’t transmit any diseases to the victim.
Properly Restrain Your Pet
In addition to following general leash laws in the local area, all pet owners should strive to maintain control over their pet with diligence at all times. When out for a walk, dogs should be kept on a moderately short leash; caution should be used when visiting off-leash dog parks where people and other dogs are present.
Dog guardians should attempt to get a feel for the mood of the dog park at any given time by doing a few laps around the exterior perimeter with the dog still on a leash, observing each dog currently inside the park. If the energy seems off, perhaps a long walk would be a better idea at that particular time. Common sense can go a long way when it comes to sizing up the safety of a dog park before turning a dog loose to play.
At home, dogs should be unable to get loose from the home or yard on their own. Dogs are known for digging under fences. Wooden fences can rot and break. Perimeters should be checked often for vulnerabilities and every member of the family should be vigilant about latching gates and shutting doors all the way.
Training and Socialization
While dogs can be unpredictable, most dogs are capable of good behavior and a friendly disposition as long as they are socialized and given basic training. They should be taught to follow basic commands like sit and stay, and be given lots of opportunities to make friends with visitors. The more a pet interacts positively with people, the more confident an owner can feel that their pet is safe around others. Special care should always be taken when supervising dogs around children or anyone who may lack the capacity to behave calmly around the animal.
Pet ownership can be an extremely rewarding experience. However, should a dog bite occur or should you have a legal question about dog bites, we can help. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.