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What to Do If Attacked by a Dog

Posted On 11/25/13

Joggers were reminded of the danger of a surprise dog attack this past May when a 63-year-old California woman was mauled to death by several pit bulls. This sort of deadly attack rarely happens, but dogs commonly try to intimidate or bite strange people in their territory. If you regularly jog, walk or ride a bike, you should know how to respond if confronted by an aggressive dog.

First, some canine psychology. Assertive dogs can become more aggressive if they think they are being challenged, it is generally best to avoid making direct eye contact and do not shout at the dog. The best thing you can do is to remain calm. Never run away from an aggressive dog. Doing so can trigger its “prey” instinct and cause it to attack. Also, try not to act frightened.

In the event that a dog does attack you, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Protect your most vulnerable areas (face, throat, and chest).
  • If you are knocked down, roll into a ball.
  • Do not pull away, since this will make bite worse.
  • If possible, distract the dog with a piece of clothing or other item.

After a dog bite, be sure to get medical attention, contact the police and try to identify the dog owner. Under Arizona law, dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets from harming other people. If they fail to do so, they can be liable for all damages caused by the attack. Seeking legal advice immediately is critical. While you generally have two years after the bite to file a negligence action against private dog owners, if you file the action within one year, the private dog owner is strictly liable. That means you do not have to prove that the owner did anything wrong, just that the dog bit you.. The personal injury lawyers at Begam & Marks have successfully handled many dog bite cases, making sure that our injured clients receive fair compensation for medical costs, lost wages, trauma counseling, property damage and, in more serious cases, permanent disfigurement.