There are 74.8 million owned dogs in the United States, with 39 percent of American households owning at least one or more dogs. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year children account for about half of the 800,000 Americans seeking medical attention for dog bites. Additionally, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals found that children are most likely to be bitten by dogs known to them. This means that children are often attacked by dogs in their homes or in the home of someone they know well, such as a neighbor or family friend.
Children tend to think of dogs as friendly creatures, so they may not understand that dogs are animals with the potential to be aggressive. In addition, young children do not always understand signals from a dog that it does not want to be touched, such as a growl or a stiffening of the body. They may not know to not disturb a sleeping or eating animal. Children may think nothing of taking something out of a dog’s mouth. In other cases, children may provoke a dog’s predator instinct by loudly running and playing.
Statistics show that children ages 5 to 9 years old have the highest rate of dog bite injuries. Children often sustain serious injuries to the head, neck, and face when attacked by a dog. In fact, the CDC estimates that over three-quarters of dog bite injuries to children under the age of 10 are facial injuries.
The CDC and ASPCA agree on several measures that children can use to stay safe: (1) never run away from a dog and scream; (2) never make direct eye contact; (3) do not disturb a sleeping or eating dog; (4) do not approach or try to touch an unfamiliar dog; (5) remain perfectly still if an unfamiliar dog approaches; and (6) if the owner allows a child to pet his or her dog, a child should let the dog sniff him or her before petting the animal.
Members of Parker Scheer’s Complex Personal Injury Practice Group have extensive experience representing victims of serious dog bite injuries to children, as well as other animal attack injuries. For more information about your rights in connection with an injury caused by a dog attack, or to speak with a dog bite attorney, contact us or call (617) 886-0500 seven days a week . There is never a charge to discuss a potential case.
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If you have suffered an injury due to a dog bite or animal attack, contact us for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours, or call our Boston office toll free. If you need a dog bite lawyer outside of Massachusetts, contact us for a referral.
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