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What to do in a dog bite incident

While dogs are touted as being "man's best friend," there are times when they are anything but that. Often, the victims of dog bite attacks are those most vulnerable -- young children.

While any animal with teeth is capable of biting when provoked or even in a random incident, frequently children get bitten when visiting friends or family members who own large dogs that are typically an aggressive breed, e.g., rottweilers or pit bulls.

Below are some dangerous scenarios that could increase the likelihood of your child being bitten by a dog:

  • Leaving a small child alone with a dog
  • Introducing a child into an unfamiliar situation with a large or aggressive breed of dog
  • Kids approaching unaltered male dogs that are chained up
  • Coming upon a wandering pack of loose dogs
  • Trying to break up a dog fight
  • Walking up to vehicles where dogs are inside or in the truck bed (dogs are very territorial)

Parents can help teach their children how to remain safer around unfamiliar dogs. All kids should know not to:

  • Pet a dog they don't know or ask permission of the owner to pet first
  • Put their faces close to the animals
  • Tease dogs
  • Run away from dogs (they will chase you)
  • Go near a female dog's pups
  • Interrupt a dog that's eating or touch its food
  • Startle dogs that are sleeping

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer these tips for when a dog attack is imminent:

  • Don't make eye contact with the dog.
  • Don't scream or run.
  • Stay still, hands down.
  • Back away slowly.
  • Put anything between you and the attacking dog -- clothing, purse, backpack, umbrella or bike.
  • Protect yourself if knocked down by making fists over your ears and curling in a ball to protect the vital organs.

You may need to file a claim for damages or a premises liability lawsuit against the dog's owner or the owner of the property to recoup any money spent on medical bills or other costs.

Source: DogsBite.org, "Staying safe," accessed May 25, 2018

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