Dog bites are one of the leading causes of personal injury in the United States. Over 4.7 million dog bites occur every year and 800,000 of those injuries require professional medical attention.
When your dog bites a friend or family member, you may panic and wonder what will happen next. Are they going to sue? Will animal control come and take your pet away? First and foremost, it’s important to assess the person and separate them from your dog. The dog should be placed in a different room, and you need to attend to the person’s bite injury.
Treating a Dog Bite
First-aid for a dog bite can be administered at home, but a doctor should be seen right away. Even if your dog is immunized, people can still develop serious infection from a bite, especially those with compromised immune systems.
Dog bites can also cause permanent nerve damage and scarring. It’s important not to minimize the situation based on the animal’s size, breed or temperament. All dog bites are serious and merit proper attention.
Keep the injured area elevated, apply a cool towel and apply pressure to stop bleeding. Do not apply alcohol right away. Instead, once bleeding subsides, clean the area, disinfect it, apply a sterile bandage and then seek medical attention.
Get Immunization Records
In the event that your friend or family member contacts a personal injury lawyer, you should have your dog’s vaccinations on-file. Contact your veterinarian and tell them what happened. Your friend or relative may not decide to press charges, but you should always be prepared.
These immunization records can also be valuable to the dog bite victim when they see a doctor.
Be Calm and Respectful
Do not blame the victim for your dog’s behavior. Show empathy and ask questions about their recovery. If they are angry or hostile and do not wish to engage with you, do not force any communication.
Instead, the best thing to do for you may be to contact a criminal defense lawyer. This can give you a good idea of what may happen if your case goes to court and advise you on how to respond if the victim asks for money or expresses the intention to press charges.
Take Your Case Seriously
Dog bites, especially serious ones from unregistered animals and those that may have rabies, can lead to criminal charges. You should never lie about the situation, even if you are afraid that your dog might be taken away.
Being honest, cooperative and proactive is the best way to protect you and your pet’s safety. Ultimately, the victim’s health and wellness should be the most important thing to you. If you remain calm and communicate with your friend, you may be able to reach a resolution without having to go to court.