How to React to Your Child’s Dog Bite

January 10, 2013  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

Almost everywhere you look these days, you will see a dog. They are at the park where your child plays, walking down the street where your child rides their bike and even in homes where your child plays. Small children love walking up to dogs and petting them, but while most dogs are friendly there are some that will attack. A dog bite is not always playful and, in fact, can cause serious damage.
Why Dogs Attack
The Center for Disease Control estimates that there are 4.7 million dog bites a year and that a majority of these bites happen to children between ages 5-9. Think about a dog’s full set of fangs and add in the fact that children have small bodies and you can see the damage that a dog bite can inflict.
There are many reasons that could cause a dog to attack a person. A common reason is because the dog feels threatened. Every dog has a different background and the way they are raised and treated reflects in their demeanor.
Dogs that have been abused or neglected could be scared of people and other animals. If they feel threatened by someone who is nearby, it could prompt them to attack. Another reason could be that the dog owner never trained their dog to behave or socialize with people. If a dog is not taught how to act or was never exposed to other people, then how can the owner expect them to behave in public?
Finally, the sad truth is that some dog owners specifically train their dogs to be aggressive, leading them to attack. No matter the reason behind the dog bite, the owner is liable because of their own negligence.
What’s at Risk
Don’t underestimate the damage that a dog bite can do. Any dog, from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane has the ability to inflict great damage or transmit diseases. The injuries sustained from dog bites include:

  • Broken bones
  • Crushed bones
  • Torn ligaments
  • Damaged tendons
  • Ripped skin
  • Blood loss
  • Organ damage
  • Head injury

In addition, there are many diseases that can be transmitted through dog bites such as:

  • Rabies
  • Pasteurellosis
  • Streptococcal/Staphylococcal Infections
  • Capnocytophaga Infection
  • Other bacterial infections

Even if your child doesn’t seem to have sustained physical injury besides a tooth puncture mark, they could still have been infected with a serious and potentially deadly infection. Whenever your child suffers these types of accidents, the police should be called and a report should be filed.
If your child is seriously injured, you should call an ambulance right away. If not, then you should bring your child to the hospital so that they can get the necessary treatment as soon as possible. Some infections, such as rabies, need to be treated right away in order to prevent irreversible damage. In fact, you may have no idea that your child has been infected until it is much too late.
Where Can You Turn?
Thankfully, the courts have created a dog bite law to protect victims of dog bites. While this law differs from state to state, the idea is the same: pet owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs and are held responsible.
If your child has been a victim then you should contact dog bite lawyers. After you receive medical care following the attack, you should speak to a dog bite lawyer to find out all your options.
These types of cases can end in many different ways but many times they end in a settlement. However, if one can’t be reached then lawsuits would be brought on. Depending on the severity of the injuries and the circumstances surrounding the attack, the court can impose fines and penalties on the dog owners.
At Barna, Guzy & Steffen, we have seen many victims of dog bites in Minnesota and have done our best for over 70 years to ensure that the dog owners were brought to justice. For a free consultation, call our office and a personal injury lawyer will go over your case and advise you of your options. When it comes to dog bites, the law is clear: your child shouldn’t have been attacked and the owner shouldn’t get away with it.