DOG BIT KID DOG ATTACK MN LAWYERS
Last week was National Dog Bite prevention week, and many social media accounts focused on dog bites that happen to children. According to a study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), it’s reported that 50 percent of all children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before the child is 12 years old. Over 800,000 bites result in doctor visits every year and about half of those are for children. MN has dog bite injuries every day and our best lawyers represent many kids bitten or attacked by a dog every year.
A kid and a dog seem to go hand in hand and make a great pairing, but so much responsibility and care needs to be taken prior to making that a successful duo. Supervision is first and foremost to having kids and pets together without incident but that’s not the only factor involved. Never leave a small child and a dog alone together is an obvious mantra. But reports show that the majority of bites happen when a parent or an adult are standing in close proximity to the kid and dog. And don’t be fooled by the breed of the dog – any breed of dog and any size of dog – from pit bull to poodle – can bite or attack a kid, causing serious injury. Our top MN lawyers have represented many families when a dog has bit a kid, to make sure the child’s rights are protected and they get the full compensation they are entitled to.
For the most part, adults know to watch kids closely, but do they know what to be looking for on behalf of the dog’s body language? Here are some clues to your dog showing it is uncomfortable or pushed to its tolerance level. This applies not only to a dog being around kids but in every situation. Watch their body language. Positive body language has a dog that looks relaxed. Body posture should not be stiff or upright. If a dog tightens up or freezes, this is not a good sign. If they are panting and have an open, loose mouth and then quit panting or close their mouth, this is also another sign of being uncomfortable.
Make sure the child or other person acts appropriately around the dog. No one should ever be allowed to pull on ears, yank on a tail or touch the feet or cheeks/jowls of a dog. They are not toys that should be poked or prodded on. If your dog tolerates that behavior, be thankful but it’s your responsibility to intervene before that patience runs out. Some stress or calming signals routinely seen in dogs when they feel too much pressure include the following:
• Yawning: This doesn’t mean they just woke up or are tired. Yawning is a big signal that your dog is stressed.
• Lip licking: Outside of dinner time, licking of lips is a way dogs show that they are stressed. If you watch dog behavior, dogs will lick their lips sometimes when being introduced to new dogs.
• Half moon eye or whale eye: These terms mean being able to see the whites of your dog’s eyes.
• Avoidance behaviors: Dogs are really good about avoiding stressful situations if at all possible. Dogs will move away or turn their head to try to avoid a conflict. These are behaviors showing the dog is trying to make a good choice in handling the situation. If you see that, step in and remove the dog out of that environment immediately. Help them out.
• Growling: Dogs don’t speak our language so they use their own. Growling is how they tell us “I don’t like what’s happening and I want it to stop.” Listen! Growling is an early warning sign. If growling doesn’t work, the dog may escalate into snapping and then eventually biting. Growling is a huge hint. Never punish your dog for growling either. You don’t want them to ever not growl and just escalate into snapping or biting.
To help prevent bites between children and dogs, supervision is the first step but you also have to pay attention to the dog as well. Learn to understand when your dog is stressed and has had too much. They give off so many signals that we should be able to see and intervene to keep everyone safe. While there are many times a dog bite comes without warning, it is still best to be vigilant to prevent them whenever possible.
If your kid has been bitten by a dog in Minnesota, please call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation. Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin are MN lawyers with over 25 years’ experience representing hundreds of people injured by a dog, attacked or bitten by a dog. We are tough, get results, and provide personal attention to your case. Our top attorneys will make sure the dog owner’s insurance pays the compensation it should. Our best dog bite lawyers handle cases throughout Minnesota.