Dog Bites in Minnesota
This time of year we open our hearts to humanity. The holiday season also means we open our doors to friends and family. Neighbors drop by to bring baked goods, the postman stops at the doorstep with gifts, and out-of-town family visits more than any other time of the year. For many this only adds to the excitement that only comes from the heart-warming joy that the holidays bring.
For many pets however, these unexpected and frequent visits can cause a good deal of anxiety and territorial behavior. Pet owners should pay particular attention to their dog’s behavior as new visitors arrive. Every year in the United States about 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog. Here are some tips to help ease a dog’s anxiety and make it through the holidays without incident:
Who is Getting Bitten?
The groups most at risk for a dog bite can be summarized in two words; children and men. Children aged 5 – 9 years old and adult men are the most likely to be bitten by a dog.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
Dogs, like most animals, will attack when they feel they or their family (the “pack,” so to speak) are threatened. Provoking or taunting a dog, even when unintentional, is the number one reason why children are bitten. Strangers and familiar faces alike are likely to provoke a dog if the dog feels there is a threat.
How Can a Bite be Prevented?
A fundamental way to stop a usually-friendly dog from feeling threatened is to allow your dog to make an introduction with the new visitor. Since dogs don’t shake hands they will want to walk up to the new visitor and sniff them to ensure there is no threat. Once a dog shows signs of submission, or really giving permission (tail wagging, licking, ears and scruff relaxed), it is ok for someone to pet them and step into the house. Even once a dog has calmed down it is still important that it is supervised, especially around children.
What if a Dog Becomes Aggressive?
If a dog shows signs of aggressive behavior, such as growling, barking, taking an attack position, the number one priority is to appear non-threatening. This means that remaining calm and avoiding panic will help calm the dog considerably. Do not face the dog, turn your body sideways, animals attack head on and tend to assume that people do as well. In the same sense, avoiding eye contact with the dog will help it to understand there is no reason to fight.
Why Does This Matter?
In Minnesota, pet owners are liable for injuries to anyone who is acting peacefully in a place where they have a right to be. This includes children, adults, guests, delivery drivers, friends and family. As the chaos of the holidays affects people and animals alike, people may find themselves liable for a dog bite, or bitten, even by a normally friendly dog.
If you have been bitten by a dog you are entitled to recover for your injuries. Contact our Mankato dog bite attorneys at Rosengren, Kohlmeyer & Hagen Law Offices to discuss your case, free of charge, today.