Each year, there are more than 4.5 million dog bites reported in the United States, 800,000 of which require medical attention, according to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC). Alarmingly, children are the most common victims, accounting for 77% of these attacks. Whether or not you are a dog owner, learning the steps you can take toward dog bite prevention is crucial to keeping you and your children safe.
Arizona Dog Bite Law
Arizona is a strict liability state in regards to dog bites. This means that the owner of the dog is legally liable to a victim who was bitten whether the bite occurred on public or private property, according to Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) 11-1025. Unlike other types of personal injury cases, dog bite claims need to be filed within one year of the incident. Because of this, it is important to immediately contact an attorney who is trained in the rules and regulations governing dog bites.
Five Tips For Preventing Dog Bites
Whether you are a pet owner or not, these five tips can help reduce the risk of dog bites.
1. Ask Before Petting a Dog
One of the most important steps in dog bite prevention is always asking for permission before petting an unfamiliar dog. A strange hand in a dog’s face may frighten them, leading to a bite. It is especially important for children to talk to the owner first because it is possible that their dog has never been around kids before.
If you do receive permission from the owner to pet their dog, let them sniff your closed hand first. If they don’t bark or growl, you can proceed to pet their shoulders or chest. Avoid petting the top of the dog’s head or moving abruptly.
2. Educate Your Family
Another step toward bite prevention is talking to your children about dog etiquette. Even if you don’t have a dog, you should still educate your family about the dos and don’ts of being around animals. Some important rules include not playing too rough with a dog, not pulling their tail or ears, and never bothering them while they are eating or taking care of their puppies.
3. Avoid High-Risk Situations
Certain situations can cause a dog’s behavior to escalate quickly, potentially causing them to bite if they are provoked. If a dog is not with its owner, on the other side of a fence, or eating, you should not interact with them.
4. Pay Attention to Body Language
A dog’s body language will indicate to you how they are feeling. Knowing the signs of aggression or fear can save you from being bitten. An aggressive dog will try to make itself look bigger by raising the fur on its back or tail, positioning its ears forward, or growling. If a dog is scared or anxious, it will often cower or lower its head, tuck its tail, and flatten its ears.
5. Always Supervise Your Children
Since dog bites are the second leading cause of childhood injury, it is crucial that you always supervise your kids when they are around dogs and never leave a baby or young child unattended. Do not assume a dog is safe and will never bite. A dog’s relationship with a human can change over time, so it is important to continue to monitor them.
Tucson Dog Bite Lawyer
If you or your child has been the victim of a dog bite, you must consult with an experienced lawyer to find out how to protect your legal rights. At Grabb & Durando, we specialize in personal injury cases and have been defending victims of dog bites in Tucson since 1994. When you choose our firm to represent you, we will fight to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.