On Monday, a family friend of the Obamas was visiting the White House when she was bitten in the face by Sunny, one of President Obama’s two adopted dogs. The bite was out of character for the four year old Portuguese Water Dog, a breed which is considered to be great for family households. While the visiting 18-year-old girl bent down to kiss the dog on the cheek, Sunny unexpectedly lashed out and left a small wound that required stitches from the White House doctor.
Many states stipulate that dog owners can only be held liable for a dog bite injury if they knew the dog was capable of behaving in a way that is likely to cause harm. The dog bite suffered by the family friend was irregular, as Portuguese Water Dogs do not generally exhibit intimidating or aggressive behavior. Although the bite resulted in a facial injury, the lack of knowledge by the White House and the Obamas that Sunny would react in a hostile way means that the incident is unlikely to constitute negligence.
Nevertheless, this goes to show that dogs can be unpredictable and may unexpectedly attack. Not all dog bite cases are as benign as this one was, and sometimes dog attacks can lead to hospitalization. The Providence dog bite injury attorneys at Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. are well versed in dog bite cases and can guide you through the legal process of determining liability if you’ve been hurt by someone else’s dog. Do not hesitate to contact our Rhode Island offices at (401) 751-8855.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs. On average, only one out of every five people bitten require medical attention.
The most common victims of dog bites are children under the age of thirteen. Due to their size, children are also most likely to be severely injured by dog bites. It is believed that because most small children are not aware of how to interact with dogs, they are most likely to be bitter by dogs.
These are the most common reasons dogs bite people.
Possessiveness – Dogs will “guard” what they perceive to be their property, this could be their food, their toys, their owners or the area they are in.
Fear – Dogs will bite when they are afraid. Avoid sleeping dogs, do not tease dogs, never approach a dog you are unfamiliar with.
Pain – Even the friendliest dog will bite if they are in pain. If your dog is experiencing pain, it is important to keep your pet away from others. If your dog’s behavior changes and they become irritable, it is important to take them to a vet for a check up to see if they are having medical issues.
Maternal Instincts – Do not approach a dog and her puppies, she may bite you if she thinks you are going to hurt one of her puppies. If you are the dog owner, provide a place where the dog and her puppies can feel safe, and will not be approached by people.
Prey Drive – If you jog or ride your bike, be aware that a dog may start chasing you. This is a competitive instinct in dogs, it is called prey drive. Try to avoid crossing paths with a dog if you are biking or jogging.
If your dog bites someone, your first priority is to gain control of the dog and assist the dog bite victim. Stay calm, don’t argue with the victim. If the dog bite victim needs medical treatment, call 911. You should pay the victim’s medical expenses. If the victim does not need immediate medical attention, provide your contact information to the victim, make certain to get the victim’s contact information. If there were any witnesses, make certain to get their contact information as well. Make certain that you have the dog’s updated vaccination records available. You’ll want to make certain to give the victim information about the dog’s rabies vaccinations.
Stay calm and document as much information about the incident as possible. There is a chance that the victim will take legal action against you. Do not make statement to anyone about the incident until you have spoken with a legal professional. You’ll find the help you need at the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd., where we have been successfully representing people in personal injury cases for more than forty years.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers have all been designated as “Super Lawyers” or “Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers Magazine. Ronald J. Resmini has earned the highest possible rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. The lawyers of the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. have many years of experience handling dog bite and other personal injury claims, and can give you clear, straightforward, and honest answers to all of your questions about the legal process regarding dog bites. Call the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. today to schedule your free consultation with a Rhode Island Lawyer. Pick up the phone and call us now at (401) 751-8855.
It is the legal responsibility of pet owners to ensure that people are safe from their pets. Unfortunately, many dog owners let their pets run loose, don’t keep their pets under control, and are careless even with pets who have been aggressive in the past and may be dangerous to others. Oftentimes this type of pet owner will let their dog roam loose. walk their dog around people without having the dog on a leash, and let their dog approach others – not keeping their dog under control.
Here are some tips for protecting yourself from dog bites and dog attacks.
1. Stop Attack Before It Starts: The first thing you’ll want to do is stop an attack before it starts. Avoid dogs you’re not familiar with if they are not under the control of the owner, and are not on a leash. It is also important to be familiar with the signs of an aggressive dog, or a dog that is upset, when a dog is preparing to attack, they try to make themselves appear larger. Signs to look for include, a tense body, an intense stare, pulled back ears, raised fur and a stiff tail. The dog may bare their teeth, growl and bark. In some cases yawning may be a sign that a dog is uncomfortable or tense – which may cause the dog to attack. If a dog is afraid, the dog will try to make themselves look smaller, they may crouch, put their tail between their legs, and flatten their ears back. Remember a frightened dog may also bite you.
2. Acting Competitive: For most people, their natural instinct is run away and even scream when approached by an aggressive dog. This is the worst thing to do when you’re around a dog that is getting ready to attack. If the dog is acting aggressive towards you – barking or growling – you don’t want to act competitive (by running or screaming) and you don’t want to “act like prey.” While you may be scared, your best recourse is to stand perfectly still and avoid eye contact with the dog until the dog loses interest or the dog’s owner gets the dog under control. Once the dog looks as if it has lost interest, you need to back away from the dog very slowly, again do not run.
3. Teach Children Dog Safety: It is important to teach your children dog safety as well. The majority of people injured by dog bites are children under age 14. Most children will approach every dog, including strange dogs, because they are fascinated with animals, they assume that every animal wants to be their friend. It is important to teach your children the following: don’t approach a dog you don’t know, always ask the owner before approaching or petting their dog, do not touch or approach a dog who is sleeping or eating. Teach your children what to do if a dog attacks them.
Also teach your children to never chase dogs or tease dogs.
4. Stay Away From Unfamiliar Dogs: Never assume a dog is friendly, all dogs can become aggressive in certain circumstances. The best way to avoid being attacked or bitten by a dog is to stay away from dogs that you are unfamiliar with. You should also remain cautious around dogs that you are familiar with who have been friendly in the past. Do not assume because a dog is calm around his owner, that the dog will remain calm and friendly when approached by a stranger. As dogs get older they can get aggressive, small dogs can be aggressive and dangerous, and dogs on a leash can still attack you. Never assume that you or children are safe when around a dog, always be prepared because you don’t know what can cause a dog to attack. Dogs have been known to attack and kill their owners who have had them for years.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, or a loved one killed, in a dog attack, let our Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney help you navigate the complex legal proceedings.
You’ll find the help you need at the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd., where we have been successfully representing people in personal injury cases for more than forty years.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers have all been designated as “Super Lawyers” or “Rising Stars” by Super Lawyers Magazine. Ronald J. Resmini has earned the highest possible rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
We have won millions of dollars in successful verdicts and settlements for our clients. We are a top-notch Rhode Island Law Firm that knows how to defend complicated cases such as dog attacks.
Call the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. today to schedule your free consultation with a Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney. Pick up the phone and call us now at 401.751.8855.