Safety Tips for Pet Owners and the Public

Dog Bites & Injuries On Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Any dog can bite and inflict severe injuries on an unsuspecting victim. According to dog bite studies, an average of 337,103 emergency department visits occur each year in the United States due to dog bites. Pet owners in Connecticut have a legal responsibility to take steps to prevent foreseeable dog attacks. Whether or not you are a pet owner, the following safety tips can help you prevent becoming a dog bite victim.

Leash-Curb and Control Your Pet

Connecticut has multiple state and municipal laws aimed at protecting the public from dog bite injuries by requiring owners to properly control their pets. It is against the law to allow a pet to roam or run at large, for example, or create a public disturbance. All pet owners must keep their pets properly contained, such as leashing them in public places. 

If a dog bites someone, the animal must undergo a 14-day quarantine to check for rabies. The biting dog may also be deemed “vicious” by an animal control officer, in which case the dog’s owner will be responsible for taking additional measures to prevent future attacks. These measures may include muzzling the dog in public.

Avoid Dangerous Situations 

While it is not always possible to predict a dog attack, you can reduce your risk of being bitten by avoiding situations that are likely to put you in danger. This includes any scenario where a dog appears stressed, scared, trapped, or possessive/protective of a person or object. In the following circumstances, it is best to avoid a dog:

  • When the dog is eating or drinking.
  • When the dog has a bone or toy.
  • When the dog is nursing puppies.
  • When the dog appears injured or frightened.
  • When the dog is running in a pack with other dogs.

Never approach or try to pet a dog that you do not know. Always ask the owner of the pet first if it is okay to reach your hand out to pet the dog. Teach children to exercise care around dogs – even dogs they know. Children should never taunt, hit or pull on a dog’s tail. If you encounter a dog that is running at large without an owner, maintain a safe distance and call your local animal control authority.

Learn How to Recognize the Warning Signs of a Dog Attack

Many dog attacks are preceded by warning signs exhibited by the animal. You may be able to avoid a dog attack by recognizing these red flags and reacting appropriately. Common signs include:

  • Tense, stiff, or rigid body posture
  • Raised hackles (fur on the back of the neck or shoulders)
  • Risen or parallel tail
  • Raised lip or bared fangs
  • Growling, barking or vocal signs
  • Snapping or gnashing of the teeth
  • Frequent licking of the lips 
  • Pinned-back ears
  • Avoiding your gaze or looking at you from the corner of the eye
  • Straddling an object or possession
  • Lunging

If you see these signs, a dog is trying to tell you that it is uncomfortable with the situation and may react by attacking. Give the dog space in this circumstance. Avoid eye contact and slowly back away until the dog is out of sight. Do not scream or run away from the dog.

Bitten by a Dog in Connecticut? We Can Help 

If you get bitten by a dog in Connecticut, state law holds the dog owner responsible for damages caused by the attack. You may be eligible for compensation to pay for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, lost wages, and more. Consult with a New Haven dog bite injury attorney at Loughlin FitzGerald, P.C. for more information. We offer free initial case consultations. 

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