From 2005 to 2018, dog bite injuries caused 471 Americans to suffer death.
It was also found that 66% of the fatalities mentioned were caused by pit bulls. There is a lot of research however suggesting that one breed isn’t more aggressive than another. One study found that golden retrievers were actually the leading breed responsible for bites on children.
What Causes Dogs to Become Aggressive
From general observation, it has been determined that when dogs are overly excited and hyper-focused, (whether about prey or protecting their territory) it’s like a switch flips. That’s when dogs can become really dangerous, especially in packs. Dogs often feed off each other’s excitement. The first safety step is often checking in with your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors and chat with people down the street if you can. Talk to delivery personnel and other workers. Ask if they know of any homes with aggressive dogs nearby.
What to do When a Dog Approaches
If a dog is approaching you quickly, there are a couple of options. First, you can decide to stand still, look down and break eye contact. It is super important to if choosing this method that you avoid making any noise and absolutely don’t scream. Another option is to do your best to stand your ground and walk straight toward the dog that is approaching. This will show the dog that you are dominant and that you aren’t something they are able to chase away.
What to do if Being Actively Attacked
If you’re being actively attacked, your focus should be on keeping you, your family, or your pet alive. Some fights may get physical or require use of a citronella spray against an oncoming dog to stay safe. Here are some tips we’ve compiled to help you with potential dog attacks.
Avoid Incoming Dog Attacks
If a dog off-leash is coming towards you:
Calling out to the owner to come to get their dog can sometimes work. Removing visual stimulants and putting an item of some sort between you and the dog (a car, trash can, umbrella or blanket can work.) You can firmly tell the dog a common command, like “sit” or “stay.” If you carry dog treats with you, you can place a few on the ground and walk away, or try throwing a handful on their head to startle them, break their focus, and allow you to get away. If the dog is dragging a leash and you can safely and quickly grab it, loop the leash around a fence or pole. Do not bend down too close to the dog’s head.
Dos & Don’ts
Here is a list of things to not do if a scary off-leash dog comes up to you:
Don’t under any circumstance, scream, run, flail limbs, panic, make eye contact, or jump up and down. Instead you should: stay as calm as you can and use a firm voice. This isn’t always to be dominant but will help you stay in control of yourself and the situation. Stand or stay upright, stay quiet and don’t scream, get on top of something, feed something to the dog by throwing the food away from yourself, keep your back against a wall so the dog cannot move behind you or surprise you.
After a Dog Attack
Once you are safe and away from the dog, try to find out who the dog belongs to. Document any injuries by taking photos and videos. Gather any other evidence you might have. You can then contact a personal injury lawyer to represent you and allow you to get compensation and justice for your injuries.
Get in touch with us today if you need representation in a dog attack case, or if you have any questions about dog bites in Missouri. Call us at (417) 626-9880 or fill out the contact form on our website.