german shepard bearing full teeth

Dog Bite Stats and Facts

Dogs Causing Injury

Although we adore our usually lovable fur friends, owning a pet comes with many risks. One being that dogs, even if house broken, have animal instincts which lead them to bite when frightened or threatened. Many people do not know how common or prevalent dog bites are. They fail to recognize the threat that “man’s best friend” can pose to themselves and their loved ones. According to the American Humane Society, roughly 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States alone every year, and 800,000 of these require medical attention. And this doesn’t only refer to stray, wild, or unfamiliar dogs. Around two-thirds of dog bite victims knew the dog that bit them.

Dog Aggression Leads to Accidents in Austin

Dog bites are completely common, even in dog-friendly cities like Austin. Austin has specific legislature, requiring that stray dogs be given to no-kill shelters, such as Austin Pets Alive (APA). Although this legislation is a great representation of our city’s love for animals, it has left a few gaps when it comes to safety. Currently, 500 dogs are quarantined for biting, and many dogs that have been deemed aggressive are available for adoption. According to KXAN, the city allows for no more than 10% of dogs to be euthanized, but those dogs must be declared an immediate threat to public safety. The city and APA do many tests and study all dogs brought into their shelter, to determine the aggressiveness and personality of the dog. However, many dogs that bite are not actually “aggressive”, but react to unfamiliar or seemingly threatening situations with violence. It is usually apparent through studying the animal whether they are a constant threat, or if occasional bites arise from understandable fear.

State-level Response to Dog Injuries

In response to these statistics and facts, many states and cities have passed breed-specific legislation in order to prevent people from owning certain breeds of dogs. This legislation typically affects pit-bulls and rottweilers. However, breed specific legislation has been difficult and costly to enforce. In addition, many pet owners and pet supporters are against legislation that targets certain breeds of dogs, because they believe it is unfair. They argue that instead of pursuing and enforcing this kind of negative legislation, the government should take more positive steps to solve the danger that dogs can pose through educational measures that teach people the do’s and don’ts with dogs. Austin has no breed restrictions, however other Texas cities, such as Garland, have restrictions and/or bans on certain breeds.

The Do’s And Don’ts With Approaching Dogs

There are many do’s and don’ts that come with interacting with dogs. Don’t approach a strange dog, and teach your children to always proceed with caution when approaching a dog. 79% of fatal dog attacks are on children, because they see a dog and don’t recognize a threat. When it comes to approaching a dog that isn’t yours, make sure to:

  • Be calm
  • Be still
  • Approach slowly
  • Don’t bother a busy dog
  • Don’t get in between dogs playing

See a stray dog? Although it is best not to approach a dog you don’t know, there are steps to best interact with a stray.

  • Know the Signs of Aggression and Fear: Dogs usually attack because they’re scared or feel threatened by your presence. Some signs of aggression include bared teeth, lifted tail, raised ears and raised hackles (the fur on the neck). Signs of fear include tucking the tail, laid back ears, snarling and barking.
  • Stop Jogging and Walk: If you encounter a stray dog while you’re out for a run, slow down and walk by the dog. Running may trigger the dog’s “predator-prey” instinct and lead it to chase you.
  • Stand Still When Approached: When a stray dog does approach you in a friendly manner, it’s best to remain still and let the dog sniff you. Most of the time it’ll decide you’re not a threat and leave you alone. If you immediately start to shout and fight you run the risk of startling the dog and making it aggressive.
  • Don’t Make Direct Eye Contact: Direct eye contact may be taken as a sign of aggression by an aggressive dog. Instead watch the dog out of your periphery vision. That way you can still keep an eye on it without provoking it any further.
  • Never Run Away: The worst thing you can do when encountering an aggressive dog is run away. Dogs are naturally inclined to chase fleeing prey and will try to catch you if you run.
  • Back Away Slowly: Instead of running, back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Most of the time, the dog will let you go.

Austin Lawyer Helps With Dog Bite Injury

McMinn has handled dog bite cases before. We know how to handle your injury and get you the settlement you deserve. For more information on McMinn’s stance on dog bites, read about our experience with dog bite cases, and why Jason McMinn and Justin McMinn are Austin’s best Dog Bite Lawyers.

If you or your loved one is the unfortunate victim of a vicious dog bite, then contact the McMinn Law Firm today. Their experienced personal injury lawyers can help.