Most people are comfortable around the dogs they know, but many dog bites involve dogs with which the victims are familiar. Still, being approached by an unfamiliar dog can be scary; if it happens to you, you need to be prepared. Below are some dog safety tips and an overview of how to act around unfamiliar dogs.
If approached by an unfamiliar dog, the worst thing that you can do is make sudden movements, like running. Instead, holding still and staying calm is key to your safety. If you are calm enough, slowly and steadily back away from the dog. Make sure you don’t turn around, through; stay facing the dog at all times.
Use the Right Body Language
Many people who are approached by an unfamiliar dog will try to soothe the dog by smiling or trying to pet it. Both moves can be dangerous if the dog is aggressive, though. Never make eye contact, never try to reach out and touch the dog, and never smile – the dog may believe you are showing your teeth, which is a sign of aggression. Additionally, never use an aggressive or threatening tone when talking to the dog – if attempting to calm the dog down, use a soothing tone.
Know How to Respond if Bitten
Ideally, a dog would never bite you. But if an aggressive dog attacks, it’s important to know what to do. According to an article in CBS News published in June 2010, if bitten by a dog, never try to pull away from the dog or fight back by hitting or kicking – both actions will encourage the dog to attack harder. Instead, try to remain calm and put something in between you and the dog, like a purse or sweatshirt. If you are on the ground when attacked, roll your body into the fetal position and cover your head with your arms.
Get Medical Attention and Talk to a Lawyer if Bitten
If a dog bites you, seek medical attention immediately. Additionally, alert the dog’s owner and animal control as soon as possible. If your bite injuries are severe, seek legal counsel to discuss what legal action you may take to recover damages related to the bite.
In Iowa, the law protects dog bite victims by holding the owner of the dog liable in the majority of cases. If you’ve been bitten and you were not committing an illegal act at the time of bite, then the owner will be liable for your damages. Damages may include the cost of medical care (short- and long-term, if needed), lost wages while recovering, pain and suffering, and more. If you need help recovering damages, call the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair in Des Moines.
Our attorneys understand the trauma – both physical and emotional – that victims might experience after dog attacks. We can help recover compensation for injuries, pain and suffering, and more, so call our offices today at (888) 435-9886 or use our online contact form to set up your appointment.