For a housewife, the family dog offers comfort, company, and protection. What you don’t probably realize is the risk that your four-legged friend poses should they bite another person while they’re outside being walked or meeting new people at home.
Even Calm Dogs Can Bite
You might believe that your furry best friend is one of the nice ones and won’t ever bite someone. However, you’d be surprised to learn that sometimes even nice dogs bite their owners by mistake. Why does this happen? Sometimes, they get woken or become startled and the biting is a self-defense mechanism. They love their owner and don’t really mean to hurt them, but at that moment, they’re running on instinct.
Similarly, when they’re out for a walk, they might have an out-of-character reaction to another dog that sets them off. Let’s face it, not all dogs get along. And even if they’re friendly with other canines out playing too, some roughhousing can lead to problems. Just in pulling two dogs apart, someone can sustain a dog bite.
How Dangerous Are Dog Bites?
The problem with dog bites is when they break the skin.
A quick nip is just to get your attention and isn’t usually done maliciously. It leaves a small red bruise for a while but as it doesn’t break the skin, there shouldn’t be any infection or long-lasting damage.
A longer, deeper bite is another matter entirely. This has the potential to tear through skin, muscle, tendons, and nerves. These will heal at varying speeds and to different degrees. Nerve damage, for instance, can become permanent and lead to life-altering pain that even pain medication cannot eradicate. Bites to the face from a jumping dog can be permanently disfiguring.
In some instances, repeated dog bites can cause death. Indeed, while the average annual deaths from dog bites in the U.S. is around 35 people, the value of insurance claims for all dog bites in a single year exceeds $2 billion.
What’s the Legal Angle?
Around 4.5 million dog bite incidents happen annually. Of these, some 750,000 victims needed hospital attention. A good percentage of these relate to stray dogs, however, it’s important to understand that half of dog bites occur at home.
Should a stranger, friend or family member visit your home and get bitten by your dog, they might seek out a dog bite attorney. The laws in the state of Utah, for instance, are broad enough that a person who feels they are being attacked by a dog is permitted under the law to defend themselves even to the point of ending the dog’s life to stop the attack. In this situation, there’s no recourse for the dog’s owner either so get to know the laws about determining if you are the legal owner or not as described here. In fact, when indoors, the owner is required to have the dog in a sectioned off area, walking on a lead in the yard, or secured indoors; they are not allowed to roam alone.
A victim can hire a dog bite attorney to represent their interests. This could include a claim for pain and suffering, hospital bills, ongoing treatment, and related issues. The cost to the dog owner could be quite substantial.
As a housewife, it’s easy to forget to put your dog on a leash when letting them out to play. However, the risks are considerable.