As the holidays approach, so does the chance of children being around dogs they are unfamiliar with. While many family pets tolerate children, even they may react unexpectedly when frightened or startled. Teaching your children how to be safe around dogs is one of the best ways to help prevent a dog bite injury.
First and foremost, young children should never be unsupervised around a dog. Even the most docile animal can become provoked by prying hands or constricting hugs. This is especially true when an animal is eating, sleeping, or playing with toys – times when all children should be instructed to leave animals alone.
Teaching children how to pet gently is also very important, as is teaching them how to approach an animal (always from the front) before engaging with it. And be clear about loud noises. These can spook an animal and provoke an attack.
Please remind your children that they should never touch an animal without the owner’s express permission. It is always appropriate to ask before reaching out to a dog, even one that looks friendly or is wagging its tail. Many dog attacks stem from an animal’s protective or fear response. Dogs may look content and calm next to their owners, but become defensive or aggressive when approached. Some may even surprise their owners when they react.
What to do if Your Child is Attacked
If a dog attacks your child, it is essential to attend to the injury immediately. Bacteria in dog bites can result in infection if not treated quickly. When necessary, call 911 or seek medical help.
Documenting the scene and gathering witness contact information can be helpful if legal action is needed. So too can identifying the owner and making sure you have their contact information. Animal control should be notified of the attack and, when appropriate, police as well. These steps can help prevent future attacks from the same animal.
If your child’s injuries are serious, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney who can investigate the incident and help you determine if you are entitled to seek damages through legal action. The attorneys at Kelleher Law are here to listen to your story, provide information about your rights, and help you choose how best to proceed with your case.
Please call Kelleher Law at 833-546-3675 to schedule a free case review today. We have offices in Naples, Ft. Myers, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia. We serve victims of dog bites throughout these states.