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With Nicer Weather Comes Dog Bites — How to Stay Safe This Summer

Dogs are arguably the most popular pet in the United States, with an estimated 80 million of them sharing our homes and our lives. Though the majority of these canines are truly man’s best friend, providing their owners and those who they encounter with love, companionship, and the joy of a constantly wagging tail, there are also those who act unpredictably, biting people and causing considerable pain and suffering.

Now that we are in the warmer weather and are spending more time outdoors, the likelihood of encountering a dog increases, so it is important to know how to stay safe around dogs who are unfamiliar or who may act unpredictably. The attorneys at Perkins Law offer these tips for how to avoid getting bitten, as well as what to do if you are injured by a dog.

If you encounter a dog with whom you are unfamiliar, there are several precautionary measures you can take to minimize your chances of getting bitten. These include:

  • Avoid staring into a dog’s eyes. If the dog is territorial, it may interpret your direct eye contact as a threat.
  • Do not ever tease a dog. This is true of dogs that are unfamiliar to you as well as dogs that you know.
  • Do not approach a dog that is injured or that is tied up on a chain, particularly if the owner is not around.
  • Do not approach a dog that you do not know or whose owner is not available for you to ask permission.
  • Do not run away if a dog is running after you. Doing so will incite the dog to think of you as prey. Also, do not scream if a dog is running towards you. It will raise the dog’s excitement level.
  • Do not try to pet or play with a dog while it is eating.
  • Do not try to pet or play with a dog while it is sleeping.
  • Do not approach a dog that is nursing puppies, or attempt to pick up a pup while in the presence of its mother.
  • Do not ever leave a small child alone with a dog, even if the dog is a trusted and much-loved family pet.

It is a good idea to approach a dog with care. Ask the owner for their permission to pet the dog, no matter how friendly the dog looks, and do not disregard what the owner says if they warn you against petting the dog. Many people who suffer dog bites argue with a warning pet owner, saying, “Oh, dogs love me,” only to find out that the owner knew what they were talking about when they said that the dog was not friendly. Approach all dogs with a closed fist for them to sniff before extending any soft flesh such as a palm or fingers.

If you have been bitten by a dog in Connecticut, it is important to remember that you have rights. Dog owners are responsible for the actions of their animals unless you have been teasing the dog or are illegally on the owner’s property with the intent to commit a crime. If you have suffered a dog bite and would like more information on your legal rights, call the attorneys at Perkins Law today.

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