Dog Bite Cases: How to Prevent Future Tragedies
When it comes to Dog Bite Cases, victims and dog owners alike want to know; how can these be prevented? As we have discusses in previous blog posts, these incidences can come from the friendliest dogs; dogs that you would least expect to attack. There are numerous causes of dog bites, from an unintentional bite due to someone in the wrong place and the wrong time, to a bite from a dog who is simply fearful.
In a recent Huffington Post article, Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. CEO Deirdre S. Franklin recalled two recent studies, one conducted by the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior (AVSAB) and the other described in a recent Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA). Franklin noted some common occurrences in dog bite cases described by the JAVMA article that could help owners potentially prevent their dog from biting or otherwise injuring another person or animal:
- The absence of an able-bodied person to intervene between the dog and victim;
- The fact that most victims are actually strangers to the dog or have had little previous interaction with the dog;
- The dog was not neutered or spayed;
- Victims are often children, elderly, and/or physically or mentally impaired and therefore lack the ability to interact appropriately with animals without correct supervision;
- Dog has not been properly socialized.
In incidences involving children, the AVSAB and JAVMA recognize that:
- An adult is rarely present;
- When an adult or able-bodied individual was present, they didn’t recognize warning signals or discomfort in the dog.
Dog bite victims and victim advocates are often quick to blame the breed of the dog, however as Franklin points out, any dog may bite. This is regardless of the dog’s size, gender, or reported breed or breed mix. You may be surprised to find that a 2005 study in the U.S., Canada, and Australia found that the breeds most frequently referred for aggressions were Jack Russell Terriers, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers. The study found that breed alone is not predictive of the risk of aggressive behavior, and dogs and owners must be evaluated separately.
Knowing this information, the question is; can dog bite tragedies be prevented? While these cases likely will never be 100% avoidable, Franklin lists some factors that could significantly reduce the risks of these occurring:
- Basic obedience training;
- Direct supervision when children, elderly, and/or disabled individuals are present;
- Enforcement of existing leash laws;
- Raising fines on dog-related incidents in order to hold dog owners accountable and encourage proper training and supervision in the future;
- Enforcing city tethering laws (ex. Not allowing a dog to be tethered for long periods or unsupervised);
- Spaying and neutering pets.
Franklin understand and stresses the importance of setting dogs up for success rather than failure, as dog bites are never the fault of the dog itself, but rather the owner and/or the circumstances surrounding the dog.
In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches or causing them to fall. Injuries to other animals are also included. Please contact us today for more information at (855) 534-6495.