Recently, an 18-year old girl suffered a dog bite injury from the infamous White House dog named Sunny. The girl was visiting the landmark when the Portuguese Water Dog bit the young girl below her eye, leading to a short trip to the ER for stitches. The Obamas aren’t the only family to experience an otherwise friendly dog lash out at a guest. In fact, many of us have witnessed a beloved pet nip at his or her owner or guest of an owner. Bites occurring while playing with a pet suffer the same legal consequences as when a bite happens out of aggression. Many cases can lead to euthanization of the dog.
It is a dog owner’s responsibility to keep his or her dog confined behind adequate enclosures on a property at all times. If this is not possible, then the dog is required to be on a leash that does not exceed six feet in length. If a dog is leashed, then the owner must still be present on the property. Dogs are to be leashed at all times when outside of the property. Owners must obey these dog safety laws. A study conducted in 2014 shows that hospitalization and trips to the Emergency Room due to dog bites has increased within recent years. Phoenix New Times reported, “From 2008 to 2012 more than 38,000 Arizonians went to the emergency room due to dog bites.” These trips to the hospital are costly, with an ER outpatient visit for a dog bite averaging about $1,150. Further, the most common home owners insurance claim is made due to dog bites.
Accidents can still happen even when precautions are upheld. It is important to recognize when a dog will bite. Here are some signs that a dog exhibits when it is about to bite:
· Tail up and/or wagging. A wagging tail signifies high energy and not always a happy dog.
· Direct eye contact
· Legs apart and chest thrown out. The dog is trying to appear larger and dominant.
· Ears up
· Low growling
· Barred teeth. This is a direct sign that the dog is about to bite.
Information edited from Petful
Awareness is the first step in prevention. Owners must oblige by the laws in order to prevent dog bites from occurring. It is also important for guests to recognize the basic body language of a dog in order to prevent injuries from occurring.
Co-written by Elise Childers for DaultLaw.
Statistics in this post derived from Phoenix New Times