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How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog - Jones Law Group

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How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog

Pit Bull Attacks are on the Rise

Since 2007, Pit Bull and the mixed breed Pit Bull dog attacks have risen steadily.[1] What is the reason? 2007 was the year that Michael Vick was convicted on the dog fighting charges. After the conviction, many shelters and animal rights groups began to market Pit Bulls and “rehabilitated” fighting dogs as a misunderstood breed and loyal family animals. This led to an increase in ownership, which, in turn, led to an increase in victims. In fact, there were nearly 6 times as many Pit Bull attacks in 2014 when compared to 2007. Pit Bulls are breed that only should be owned by very responsible and strong dog owners. Pit Bulls get the press, but it is important to remember that any breed of dog is capable of biting and doing significant damage. That is why it is important to understand how to handle and treat dogs.

Dangerous Situations to Avoid

Some situations are more dangerous than others when considering dog safety. Typically, what makes these situations dangerous is the dog’s level of protectiveness or unease. Situations to avoid include:

1. Leaving small children alone with dogs;
2. Taking food or toys away from a dog;
3. Approaching an injured dog;
4. Approaching a chained dog or a dog which is in a fenced yard;
5. Approaching a dog in a car or truck;
6. Any situation with a dog with which you are not familiar;
7. Encountering a group or pack of dogs;
8. Attempting to put your face near a dog’s face;
9. Attempting to break up a dog fight; and
10. Approaching a dog that is on a leash.

What to do if You Think You Might be Attacked

There are situations in which you feel that you might be attacked. It is important to understand how to minimize the attack or to avoid it altogether. If you are walking, consider carrying pepper spray and a piece of loose clothing. I will describe how each can be used to ward off a dog attack.

First, if you are walking or jogging and you do not have pepper spray or a piece of loose clothing and encounter a dog you feel might be dangerous: Do not stand directly facing the dog. Stand sideways with your left arm slight extended with your elbow at a 90 degree angle. Essentially, this arm is offered as a target. Do not stare at the dog or make any sudden moves. If the dog loses interest, then walk slowly away. NEVER RUN. If the dog attacks, the idea is to use the target arm like a matador and to kick the dog as it goes by you. Unfortunately, this kick, even if well placed, will not deter many dogs from making a second attack. If the dog does get a hold of you, it is best to be bitten in the forearm or shins. Protect your face, chest and neck. Remember, you do not want to pull away from a dog which is biting, as it will make your injuries worse.

If all you have is a piece of clothing such a sweatshirt tied around your waist or a purse or backpack, use the object in your left hand and allow the attacking dog to pull the clothing away. The dog will usually feel that it has gotten a piece of you and will focus on the clothing and allow you to retreat to safety.

If you have pepper spray, it is important to give the animal the opportunity to retreat. If the dog begins to attack, spray the pepper spray directly in the dog’s nose and eyes. Remember, trained attack dogs are trained to be unaffected by pepper spray and there have also been cases in which just regular dogs seemed to be unaffected by the spray. Therefore, your first option should be to attempt to “stand the dog down.”

What to do if You Have Been Bitten by a Dog

If you have been bitten by a dog, get to a safe area and thoroughly wash the wound. Contact a physician or go to the hospital for further treatment and advice. You will also want to report the bite to the local animal control official. In St. Petersburg, that will Pinellas County Animal Services.[2] Animal Services will want to know basic information about the dog, such as the address of its owner, its breed, its coloring and markings, etc.

Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been bitten by a dog? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.

Whether you were a guest in someone’s home, a jogger or a walker who was bitten by a dog, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707



[1] http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics.php

[1] http://www.pinellascounty.org/animalserv

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio