May 19-25 has been dedicated as National Dog Bite Prevention Week. National Dog Bite Prevention Week is an awareness campaign sponsored every year by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Humane Society of the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Postal Service to help prevent dog bite injuries and dog bite attacks by educating dog owners how to properly train their pets and remind the public, especially children, how to behave around animals.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is very important as dog attacks are the most commonly reported public health issue among children in the United States, accounting for five percent of emergency room visits. In fact, nearly 4.7 million Americans were bit by a dog last year. The most frequent victims of dog bites are small children, senior citizens and postal workers. When it comes to dog bites, children are 900 times more likely to suffer a dog bite than compared to adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around 68 million dogs are kept as pets in the U.S. According to statistic from the CDC, dog attack injuries are most frequent in the arm and hand, accounting for 45.3 percent of reported injuries. Injuries to the leg and foot rank second at 25.8 percent and head and neck trauma come in third at 22.8 percent. These statistics reign true expect in children under the age of four, where the majority of dog bite injuries occur in the head and neck region.
A theme is chosen to represent National Dog Bite Prevention Week each year, and this year the theme is “Be a tree.” This is meant to serve as a reminder to all that if a strange dog approaches you, stand still like a tree. The dog will eventually tire of the situation and leave, according to the AVMA.
Below you will find several more tips to keep you and your children protected from Inverness dog bites:
• Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
• Stress the importance of having an adult present before playing with any dog to your children. Even the friendliest animals can attack at a moment’s notice, so make sure your children know to check with you before playing with a pet.
• Before you bend down to pet a dog, let it see and sniff you first.
• Never bother a dog when it is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.
• Do not run past a dog. Dogs have a natural instinct to chase and attack their prey, so it is best to approach slowly and make your presence known before making any sudden movements.
• If you get the sense that you are in the presence of an aggressive dog, it is best to be quiet and remain still. Never Scream. Avoid making eye contact, as dogs often view this as threatening. As soon as the dog moves away, slowly back up until the dog is no longer visible.
• If a dog knocks you over, it is best to roll yourself into a ball and lie still.
• If a dog attacks you, try to move behind a car or other large object if at all possible. Sometimes even a bicycle, purse or backpack can help block a vicious attack.
• If you or your child is bitten by a dog, report the bite as soon as possible and seek medical attention right away.
The Citrus County Dog Bite Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand just how important it is to educate the public on dog bite safety, especially in children. We are committed to helping victims obtain the justice they deserve following an animal attack. If you or someone you love has been injured by a vicious dog in Inverness, Crystal River or any surrounding areas, please contact us today at 352-726-0078 to schedule a free case review.