In 2013, 32 people in the United States were killed in dog attacks. That may seem like a small statistic, however, studies show 4.2 million cases are reported annually of dog attack survivors. These individuals may have been seriously injured and scarred by dog bites – innocent victims in North Carolina. Both children and adults are victims of attacks. In many of the attacks, the dogs were familiar to the person attacked, though in about 30% of the cases, they were not.
How does one avoid a violent attack by an aggressive or dangerous dog? Although it is impossible to prevent attacks altogether, it is possible for you and your family to learn important tips on how to protect yourself and stay safe against canine attacks.
- Never approach a stray or strange dog. The dog might be sick, aggressive, or trained as a guard or attack dog. Especially don’t approach a strange dog if it is chained up or in a car – dogs are more likely to attack violently if they feel trapped or confined when they are threatened. They may also be protective of their territory and view you as a threat.
- With all dogs, even ones you know well, let them be aware of you. Don’t pet a dog without letting him or her see you approach him. Let a dog sniff your hand and realize that you are not a threat. Even the most well-behaved dogs may react violently and bite if they are startled or surprised.
- Don’t pet a dog who is eating, sleeping, playing with a toy, or guarding her puppies. Dogs can be very protective of their food, possessions, and children – and a stranger suddenly touching them or approaching them may lead to aggressive behavior even if the dog is usually calm and passive.
- Don’t leave your children alone with any dog. Children may not understand how to treat a dog appropriately, and dogs may not understand how rough to be with children. Either the dog or the child may incite a dog attack, even if the dog is not normally vicious. Dogs attacking children are the most common reported cases.
- If a dog is threatening or following you, don’t run and scream. This excites the dog and makes you look like prey. Instead, stand still and silently. Try not to make eye contact. If attacked, roll into a tight ball while protecting your throat and head.