Each year, warmer weather encourages Pennsylvania residents to participate in numerous outdoor activities. From yoga and Tai Chi in the park to jogging in the cool morning air, people are happy to get out of the house and breathe in the fresh air. Unfortunately, every summer, individuals face aggressive animals and struggle with the serious consequences of dog bites.
Nearly everyone – whether anecdotally or through personal experience – understands the severity of an animal bite. Depending on the size of the dog and the duration of the attack, individuals might struggle with torn flesh, broken bones or amputation. Even a small puncture wound can lead to infection, rash and tissue death. Dogs might bite people for numerous reasons, including:
- The dog has an emotional response to a stressful environment
- The dog is defending its territory while feeling threatened
- The dog is protecting its owner, pups or an injured mate
- The dog cannot differentiate between rough play and aggressive actions
- The dog is ill or feels cornered
Whatever the underlying reason, a dog attack can result in serious injuries including bodily damage, physical scarring, fear and other emotional turmoil.
Are there tips to stay safe?
Whether you are socializing your own dog in the park or simply strolling around your neighborhood, it is wise to carefully observe your environment and follow some tips to avoid dog bites.
- Observe the animal’s demeanor: It can be challenging to understand visual cues in the absence of any type of verbal component. If you notice the dog staring at you, standing in a stiff posture or pacing in a way that suggests irritability rather than playfulness, it is wise to stay at a distance.
- Ask for permission prior to approaching or petting the dog: Even if you know the owner and have interacted with the pet in the past, be on the lookout for signals that might mean illness, hunger or aggression. Always seek out the owner before approaching an animal.
- Do not assume the dog wants to play: Many individuals assume that dogs always want to play. In truth, dogs share many traits with people and would often rather be left alone. Persistent touching or rough housing can quickly lead to bites.
If you, your child or another loved one was bitten by a dog, it is not uncommon to be confused about the legal implications of the injury. Do not hesitate to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You might be entitled to recover monetary compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering.