Getting bit by a dog is not a blameless act. Both the pet and the owner have to take responsibility, and there will always be consequences. The severity of those consequences can very well come down to how you handle the initial incident.
Always prioritize the phone call to a dog bite lawyer. Even if you think everything was taken care of, a few hours can change your life. Without the assistance of a professional familiar with the law, you are risking your dog’s life, and a lot of money. The potential for both is too great to leave up to chance, so don’t go forward without a solid gameplan. Make the phone call, and rest easy knowing that the situation is in good hands.
Pay close attention to the public park rules that separate small dogs from large dogs. There is no getting around the breed argument on a personal level or with the law. Pitbulls, rottweilers and bulldogs are at the top of the list of dangerous dogs. No matter how sweet the temperament of your dog, their actual breed will be attacked the moment they bite someone. This can come back around to bite you in court since judgements are particularly harsh on these breeds. There is a long history of violence, and whether unfair or not, your dog’s breed will always be a target.
Walking Away from the Scene
Just like a hit and run accident, moving away from the scene is the worst thing you can do. Without a resolution, it is a bad look that will only make things worse. In the heat of the moment, panicking is normal. Whether you want to relieve stress for yourself or your dog, there are better ways to do it than walking away from the scene. On top of the obvious implications, you could also be leaving favorable evidence at the scene.
Personal History Is Irrelevant
This one comes as a shock for anyone that has had a dog for a long time. Unfortunately, ‘good behavior’ is not something that can be cashed in like chips at a Las Vegas casino. When your dog bites someone, their past will have no positive bearing on the future outcome. On the flip side, previous bad behavior from your dog will help out the victim and enforce a harsher punishment. When someone complains about your dog’s bad behavior, deal with it immediately. Your lack of action in the past will come back to haunt you if someone is bitten due to your carelessness.
Restrain Your Dog
This is something that needs to happen the moment your dog becomes the aggressor. After the bite, secure your dog away from the person that is bit. If possible, get them away from any other humans or dogs in the area. The first bite is sometimes just the warning, so leaving your dog unchecked could cause a larger provocation. People and animals have become seriously injured due to inaction after a bite. Emotions are running high on both sides, but it is your responsibility to secure your dog first.
When Children Are Involved
When a child gets bit, it is a traumatic experience that stays with them for a lifetime. As a parent sees their child getting attacked, a mental switch flips in their head to protect at all costs. A dog owner has to stay in neutral territory without flipping their own switch. Although it is hard not to activate your ‘protect at all costs’ mode for your dog, the situation requires you to identify a way to get your dog away from the victim.
There are situations where all-out brawls take place between a parent, a dog owner and their dog. The parent is trying to protect their child, the dog owner is trying to protect their dog, and the dog is just trying to finish the job. Once the first bite happens, it is your job to shuffle away your dog and secure it to a safe location. Once you take an aggressive action, there is no way to peacefully salvage the situation.
So, you’ve avoided a physical fight with the victim or an adult guardian. What is the next worst thing you could do? Making threats is on the all-time list of things that instantly gives a slam dunk case to a victim of any assault. In the moment, the dog owner is probably fed up with the threats of a lawsuit or having their dog put down. Making a counter threat is not only dumb, but may be an actual trap to make the situation worse. It isn’t unheard of for individuals to provoke dogs to attack them, then bait the dog owner into making threats. It’s unlikely this will happen to you, but why take the chance? When your dog attacks someone, that is a failure on your side, not the victims.
A dog doesn’t have to bite for it to be an attack. Any type of unwanted physical altercation can be problematic. If you have a hyperactive dog, keep the leash short and tight. When you have an aggressive dog, maintain generous spacing between other individuals and their pets. This proactive response can prevent a lot of dog bites, scuffles or misunderstandings. When you are aware of what could possibly happen, then your dog can’t step out of bounds.
Some dog owners think that a quid pro quo deal on the spot will absolve them of all liability. When you attempt this, it is admitting guilt on the spot while handing the victim physical proof. Making deals under the table to avoid paying insurance or appearing in court will land you in hot water. If all of the parties involved want to work it out without involving outside influences, that is fine. But keep this little bit of information in mind – if the victim takes your money and decides their pain and suffering is greater than the deal offered, they can still take you to court.
A Dangerous Situation
A dog is supposed to be your best friend through thick and thin. With that in mind, take the time to share knowledge with them like you would a true friend. When they know the stakes, biting will be the last thing on their mind.