While dogs are often thought of as “man’s best friend,” if they are not properly trained or supervised, they can cause serious injuries. While most of our furry friends are fun, cuddly and playful, more than 4.5 million people in the United States report being bitten by a dog each year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Even more alarming, researchers of a study published in the medical journal Injury Epidemiology found approximately 900 individuals in the U.S. visit an emergency room for dog bites each day. In 2020, approximately 47,000 individuals required reconstructive surgery because of a dog bite, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Because dog bites and dog attacks are so common, our DFW, Texas dog bite lawyers at The Button Law Firm feel it’s important to be aware of the ways you can avoid being bitten by a dog and what to do if you or your child are the victims of a canine attack.
How to Avoid Dog Bites and Attacks
To prevent being bitten by a dog, the best defense is a good offense. The city of Houston’s BARC Animal Shelter has a helpful list of tips to prevent a dog attack.
Here are a few basic tips to follow:
- Be alert—look, listen and be aware of your surroundings
- Remain calm if approached by an unknown dog
- Never leave a child unattended with any animal
- Don’t pet a strange dog or try to give it food
- Don’t startle a dog or make it feel threatened or cornered
Children Are Most Likely to Be Severely Injured in a Dog Attack
Children are the most common dog bite victims. These incidents are most likely to occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs. Sadly, children are also more likely to be severely injured, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. A child’s small body size makes it more vulnerable to sustaining severe injuries to the:
- Fingers and toes, which may require amputation
Each of these body parts can require complex medical care to prevent permanent scarring and disfigurement.
Steps to Take After a Dog Attack in Texas
If you or your child are injured by a dog bite or animal attack, here are four important things to do immediately:
- Seek medical attention at your local hospital’s emergency room, an urgent care center, or your doctor’s office. Often, the full extent of dog bite injuries can’t be visibly seen. It’s important to make sure infection hasn’t set in, you haven’t sustained any broken bones or internal injuries, and that there are no foreign fragments or objects in the area of the bite.
- Preserve evidence at the scene of the dog attack. The key to holding a dog owner responsible for their negligence is to gather as much information as possible about the dog and dog owner. Evidence should include the name, address, and phone number of the dog owner, photographs of the wound, photographs of the scene and dog, date and time of the bite, and a description of the dog. The longer a dog bite victim waits to gather evidence, the less chance there is to hold the dog owner accountable for their negligence.
- Report a dog bite to Texas animal control authorities if you have reason to believe that you could contract rabies, in accordance Texas State Health and Safety Code Section 826.041. This requirement may apply if you do not know the dog’s vaccination status or if you are bit by a stray dog. Contact Texas animal control authorities by dialing 311.
- Reach out to our experienced Texas dog attack injury lawyers by calling 214-699-4409 or filling out a contact form. Time is of the essence. Being attacked by a dog can result in significant physical and emotional trauma for you or your child. You may be eligible for compensation to pay your medical expenses, cover lost wages from your job while seeking medical attention, and damages for pain and suffering. We are ready to listen and advise you on the best approach to hold the dog’s owner accountable and get justice for your traumatic experience and injuries. However, there is a two-year time limit for filing a personal injury claim in Texas, so reach out to our team as soon as possible.
Who Is Responsible for a Dog Attack?
We all understand that dog ownership is a big responsibility. Each day, a dog owner has to make sure their dog is fed, walked, groomed, and generally well-cared for. Many of us treat dogs like they’re members of the family. Unfortunately, some dog owners do not properly supervise or restrain their dogs. An unruly, unleashed, or loose dog can cause serious injury to an unsuspecting person or passerby.
Many cities across Texas require dogs be leashed when taken for walks, or they’re prohibited from being free to roam neighborhoods or trespass in yards. Under Dallas city code, for example, a dog owner could be in violation if they fail to secure their dog and, unprovoked, the dog attacks a person and causes bodily injury when outside of the owner’s property. Click here to learn more about dog bite injuries and liability in Texas.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Texas Dog Attack Lawyers
Dog attack injury claims are challenging. Our team of experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys at The Button Law Firm is dedicated to advocating for you and your family after a dog attack or serious dog bite. With attorneys in Dallas, Houston and Midland, we are ready to fight for you. Our attorneys at The Button Law Firm are recognized on the prestigious Texas Super Lawyers list, and we can help guide you after a traumatizing attack. We work on a contingency basis, which means we don’t charge or collect any upfront fees to get started on your case. Call us at 214-699-4409 or fill out a contact form for a free consultation.