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Most of the time, dogs truly are man’s best friend; they are companions, confidants, and family members. But when a dog is threatened, sick, stray, mistreated, or abused, it can lash out and bite. Sadly, humans, particularly children, are often on the receiving end (about 1,000 emergency room cases each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Some can be prevented, but many cannot. As such, knowing what to do in the event of a dog bite is the best course of action, particularly for parents of small children.
Victim Usually Knows the Dog
The first thing you should know about dog bites is that the victim usually knows the dog or its owner. They might not have a close enough relationship to fully understand the dog’s temperament or be immediately recognized by the pet, but they have at least seen or know of the pet. This can actually work in the favor of the victim since it can make it easier to determine whether or not the dog is up-to-date on its vaccinations.
Preventing Dog Bites
When it comes to bites caused by strays, there may not be any real rhyme or reason; the dog may simply be threatened by humans or a castaway that was abused. Whatever the cause, it is important to steer clear of them if you see one. If you are too close to safely avoid them, avoid eye contact and attempt to back away slowly. If you do get away, call animal control immediately and file a report.
Bites by dogs known to the victim can be more complex. It is possible that the dog is ill or has escaped and is not used to being around humans they do not know, but oftentimes, these bites occur because the victim has approached the dog at a time when they may be likely to bite (when eating, feeding puppies, etc.) or stepped into its territory. For this reason, it is critical that parents speak with children about dogs – how and when they can be approached, how to recognize signs to stay away, when to avoid them, and the importance of asking permission from the owner before reaching out.
Treating Dog Bites
To effectively treat a dog bite, you must first assess the severity of the wound. Those that are bleeding badly should seek immediate medical attention, as should any wounds that are large, wide, or deep. All others can typically treat at home, ensuring they flush and wash the wound thoroughly before applying antibiotic ointment and a sterile bandage. A doctor’s appointment should be made to check for infection and to report the incident.
Seeking Compensation for Dog Bites
If you or your child has suffered a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner to cover the cost of medical bills. Punitive damages may also be available, depending on the circumstances. To inquire about your case, contact a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney in Hinsdale IL. Call 630-920-8855 for a free consultation at Martoccio & Martoccio today.