The second week of April is dedicated to Dog Bite Prevention. Veterinarians work with clients and their communities to help educate pet owners about the importance of teaching children how to interact with dogs, including both household pets and strange dogs they encounter in their neighborhoods. There have been several tragic incidents in Connecticut that involved victims suffering horrific injuries from animal bites inflicted by dogs.
The Centers for Disease Control reports an estimated 4.7 million dog bite incidents occur yearly. Approximately 17 percent of those are severe enough to require medical treatment. Nearly 50 percent of these victims are children. One veterinary college association is working to remind parents that educating children on how to interpret a dog's body signals can help protect against attacks.
One professional reminded pet owners that dogs usually give several cues that a bite may be forthcoming. Raised lips, unusual yawning and cowering are all signs that a dog is uncomfortable and may bite. Members of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association stress the importance of early socialization of puppies to a wide variety of people and situations. Parents are also reminded that children should be educated about the danger of approaching unfamiliar dogs as they may pose a greater danger of biting.
Owners who are concerned that their pet shows signs that it is inclined to bite are urged to seek help from their veterinarian to find the best remedy to the problem. Sadly, even a well-socialized pet can attack under the right conditions, resulting in a child or other victim suffering serious injuries from animal bites. Connecticut's strict liability laws permit a victim to seek compensation from owners for the damage they have sustained from an unprovoked attack.