If you or your child is dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite, you may be thinking twice about going trick-or-treating this Halloween. Even normally calm, well-behaved dogs can get excited by small people coming to the door in flowing costumes to collect candy and they may behave in ways they normally wouldn’t.
Unfortunately, not all dog owners are vigilant about keeping their dogs secured safely away from the door on Halloween. However, you can still take steps to minimize the chances of being bitten.
You may want to avoid homes where you can hear or see a barking dog even if they’re in the house or behind a gated fence. If someone opens their door and you see a dog, don’t move toward them — even if someone is holding onto it. They can always let go or the dog can get loose.
If they don’t put the dog in another room, don’t come in. Tell them you don’t want to scare their dog, and ask if they’ll step outside to dispense the candy. Don’t turn around and leave until the door is closed, as the dog may follow you.
If you come upon a dog out walking, don’t approach them. Even if they’re with their owner and on a leash, they may be frightened by your child’s costume or just riled up by all the people out and about. Even if it’s a dog your child knows, they shouldn’t try to pet it. The dog may not recognize his buddy dressed as the Joker or Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
If you encounter a loose dog, experts recommend that you “Be a Tree.” That means to stand still, fold your hands in front of you and look down at your feet. People aren’t very interesting to dogs when they’re standing still and quiet. The dog may have run out the door while it was open for trick-or-treaters and be frightened and lost. They will likely sniff you and be on their way. Don’t move until they’re gone or until their owner has leashed them or picked them up.
Dog bites can range from minor to severe. However, it’s always best to seek medical treatment. If you’re dealing with medical expenses and other consequences after a dog bite and you’re having difficulty getting compensation from the dog’s owner or caretaker, find out what your legal options are.