Dog Bite Prevention Tips | The Law Offices of G Turner Howard III

Dog bites can be dangerous since they pose severe health risks to victims. Credible reports indicate that one out of every five dog bite victims ends up requiring medical assistance due to their injuries. It’s important that you, as the owner, take proper steps to ensure that your dog doesn’t attack another person and, subsequently, do your part to reduce the number of dog attacks.

Dog Bite Prevention Tips for Dog Owners

About 38% of homes in the U.S. have family dogs. While your dog might be well-trained and on their best behavior with you in the comfort of your own home, once out in the open, they can feel threatened or frightened by several different things. Additionally, new people visiting your home are also at risk of being attacked if your dog suddenly feels frightened or threatened by the presence of new people. 

In Knoxville, the majority of the time, dog owners are liable for attacks involving their dogs. Therefore, it is essential to be responsible for your dogs at all times in an uncontrolled environment to prevent them from becoming part of the dog-bite statistic. 

The American Veterinary Medicine Association has guidelines for dog owners to minimize the chances of their dogs getting involved in dog bite attacks. Here are the AVMA recommendations:

  • Carefully select your dog
  • Introduce your puppy or adult dog to various sights, smells, and sounds so it is comfortable around other dogs or people
  • Enroll your puppy or dog in a behavioral training class
  • Keep your dog on a leash whenever in public
  • Neuter or spay the dog to reduce the desire to roam or any aggressive behavior
  • Schedule a behavioral examination with the veterinarian if your dog exhibits aggressive tendencies
  • Understand your dog’s body language
  • Keep your dog up to date on any vaccinations and medications 
  • Secure your home with a perimeter wall or a fence if the dog stays outside

Dog Bite Prevention for Children

Kids are the leading victims of dog bite attacks in Knoxville since many children are often tempted to hug or kiss an unfamiliar dog. Unfortunately, a stray dog, or an unfamiliar dog, may not understand these behaviors and lash out.

Before meeting a new dog, make sure that you have gone over the following rules with your child: 

  • Ask the owner if they can pet the dog
  • Calmly walk up to the dog after asking the owner for permission
  • Pet the dog gently under the chin, the chest, or back
  • Don’t get in the dog’s face

Here are a few dog bite prevention tips for children who spend time with dogs:

  • Give the dog space if it is sleeping, taking care of its puppies, or eating.
  • Don’t tease the dog
  • Don’t distract a service dog 
  • Avoid playing with old or sick dogs
  • Don’t go near a growling or barking dog
  • Be careful around dogs with puppies.

The best way to prevent your child from becoming part of the statistic is to watch your kids whenever they are around dogs. Although dog owners are liable for dog bites, it is your role to provide constant guidance and feedback to your kids.

Dog Bite Prevention for Adults

Although most dog bites involve children, adults can also fall victim. Dog bites occur when the dog is reacting to something. For instance, a dog may bite you trying to protect its territory, property, or food if it feels threatened. Along with feeling threatened, startled dogs also tend to act out aggressively. 

Therefore, it is essential to avoid these risky situations and know when or how to interact with a dog. Here are the steps to take to avoid a dog bite:

  • Don’t approach an unfamiliar dog
  • Stay calm if an unfamiliar dog barks or approaches you
  • Ask for permission to pet the dog from the owner
  • Avoid approaching a sick, injured, sleeping, barking, or growling dog
  • If the dog attacks you, “offer” your purse, bag, or jacket and cover your head, neck and face if it knocks you down
  • Avoid approaching the dog if it is resting with its puppies

Like people, dogs express their feelings through vocalizations, body gestures, and postures. While it may be difficult to completely read the dog’s emotions, paying attention to its body language can help you determine whether the dog is frightened, stressed, or threatened.

Dog Bite Laws in Tennessee?

Even after taking the preventive measures mentioned above, a dog bite accident can still occur. It can be difficult to know what to do if a dog bites you or your loved one. The first thing you should do is seek medical attention immediately. While you can’t hold the dog accountable, the owner is responsible for all the medical costs and losses for time spent out of work.

The Tennessee dog bite law is a mix of the “one bite” policy and strict liability. This means that the circumstances surrounding your case can play a significant role in whether you can pursue compensation or not.

In strict liability cases, the dog owner is held liable whether or not they knew about the dog’s behavior or tendency to bite. Strict liability is only applicable if the dog bite occurred in a public space or the victim was lawfully in a private place. Under the one-bite rule, the owner may not be held responsible if the dog has never acted aggressively before.

Schedule an Appointment with a Knoxville Dog Bite Attorney

Although the tips mentioned above can reduce dog bites, dog bite attacks are inevitable. If you or your loved one is a victim of a dog bite, contact a Knoxville dog bite attorney from The Law Offices of G. Turner Howard III to schedule a consultation.

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