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How to Approach a Stray Dog Without Scaring It

 If you are an animal lover, then there are few things that can pull at your heart strings like seeing a dog wandering around, clearly lost and alone. As much as you want to help the dog, whether by returning it to its owner or bringing it to a safe place, it is important that you are smart in the way you approach it in order to avoid scaring it off – or worse, ending up on the receiving end of a nasty bite. Avoiding dog bite injuries is always important, but this is especially true when you are uncertain as to who the dog is owned by, or who would be legally responsible for any injuries you incur as a result of your big-hearted actions.

The first thing that you need to understand is that a stray dog is likely to be defensive. They are frightened, and may be sick or injured. This is likely to make them act in an unpredictable, and possibly aggressive way. You don’t want them to run away and risk being hit by a car or lost further, but you also don’t want them to turn on you. The most effective method of helping is to restrain them, either by creating a barrier or using a leash. If you can trap them in a yard, or use a length of rope with a slip knot to hold onto it, you will find yourself in a much better position to control the animal.

As you are approaching a stray dog, speak softly to it. Do not yell – instead use a slightly higher voice, which dogs tend to interpret as being friendly. You can also help yourself to coax a dog into trusting you by offering them food – especially a food that has a strong odor like bacon, or tuna, or liver. If you are in a vehicle and can entice them into the car, close the door but do not try to get in and drive them somewhere, as they may become either aggressive or panicked. Instead, call for help from the shelter or the local animal control office. The police may be of help too.

Though it may be tempting to simply keep a stray animal that you have found, you need to remember that there may be a frantic owner searching for it. Turn the dog in to local animal shelter. If you want to claim the animal for yourself in the event that an owner is not located, provide the shelter staff with that information. They will call you if no owner is located.

If, in the course of trying to help, you are injured, seek medical attention immediately. This is always true, but especially when you are not certain as to whether a dog has had its shots. If the owner is found and you have incurred medical bills, you may be able to file a claim for compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. The attorneys at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers can help.

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