Thousands of dog bite attacks in Oregon are reported each year, with an estimated 4.7 million occurring annually in the U.S. According to the American Humane Society (please keep in mind that these are just statistics):
- 50 percent of dog attacks in 2011 involved children under age 12.
- Approximately 25 percent of fatal dog attacks involved chained dogs.
- Approximately 71 percent of bites occur to the extremities (arms, legs, hands, and feet).
- Approximately two-thirds of bites occurred on or near the victim’s property. Most victims knew the dog.
- At least 25 different breeds of dogs have been involved in the 238 dog-bite-related fatalities in the U.S.
- Approximately 24 percent of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs found off of their owners’ property.
- Approximately 58 percent of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs found on their owners’ property.
The law offers the potential for financial compensation for injury, but what is considered personal injury, and how can these cases be avoided altogether?
If you suffer a bite that breaks the skin, immediately report the injury to an animal control facility in your area. The report will serve as the basis for any insurance claim you choose to pursue or for a jury if the case goes to court. If the dog is loose, the facility will likely require that the owner pen the dog for up to a few days in ensure that they are not carrying rabies or another communicable disease which would render the animal an ongoing threat.
Pictures of the dog bite further document the attack and can support your claim in future. Be sure to take pictures of the wound immediately, as it heals, and after healing to show any scarring.
Because liability is a huge issue in dog bite cases, be sure to take down the name and address of the dog owner and any witnesses, in addition to the breed of dog. While BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) exists, which prohibits ownership of certain breeds, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers, any breed of dog can bite, and these laws have not statistically proven to reduce the amount of dog bite cases.
If you are a dog owner, the best steps you can take to protect yourself from liability are to spay or neuter your dog to reduce aggression; supervise your dog so he feels secure; provide basic training and socialize your dog; obey leash laws; and unchain your dog, which greatly decreases dog stress, protectiveness, and vulnerability.
Protect yourself and your loved ones from incurring personal injury or liability by using common sense with your own pets and taking immediate action if and when an attack occurs.
Webfor is an Internet marketing company. One of their clients is NW Injury Law Center, a personal injury firm serving Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington and their surrounding communities.