Whether you are the owner of a dog or you have children that are naturally curious and drawn to animals, it is vital to know that even the tamest of family pets can attack without warning. Children like to play with these pets, but sometimes they can play too rough. This may be the reason why some dogs bite back, but it does not explain dogs walking on the street and attacking passersby.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children are the most likely to be bitten by dogs in the United States. Each year, there are approximately 4.7 million people who suffer dog bites - over half of those bitten are children under 14 years of age.
The CDC reports that children between the ages of 5 and 9 are most likely to be bitten.
The parents of a child who sustains a dog bite, may have legal remedies against the owner of the pet, particularly if the owner did not appropriately restrain the dog.
Owners are advised to ensure their animals are properly vaccinated, to prevent rabies and other dangerous illnesses. Dogs should also be trained to follow their owners' commands and exposed to social situations to teach them to behave properly around other people and animals.
To prevent such hardships for all parties, it may be best to walk on the other side of the street from children if you think your dog might bite. A muzzle while outdoors is also a good idea. As for the children, make sure they are aware of pet safety. They should always ask to pet a strange animal and offer the dog a hand to smell first before touching the animal.
Source: Medical Xpress, "Simple steps can shield children from dog bites," July 6, 2012.
Our firm handles situations in which individuals have been injured by dog bites. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our New Haven Dog Bite Injury page.