Many people think of dogs as “man’s best friend,” but they are capable of inflicting serious wounds on people. Some dogs bite to protect their owners and their homes, while others may do so out of fear or in response to provocation or aggression. People can avoid dog bites in several ways with a few best practices. It’s important to know how to avoid bites from other peoples’ dogs, and dog owners should know how to prevent their pets from biting.

Tips for Dog Owners

It’s vital for dog owners to understand their states’ dog bite laws. Some states refer to a strict liability law, meaning dog owners are completely liable for all injuries and damages their dogs cause. Other states abide by a “one bite rule,” meaning a dog owner may not be liable for a dog bite injury unless the dog has a documented history of aggression or past attacks.

People who own “dangerous” dogs need to take precautions to prevent injuries to others. A dangerous dog may require a secured enclosure separate from the owner’s house. When the owner takes a potentially dangerous dog for a walk, the owner should use a very strong leash and consider fixing the dog with a muzzle to prevent bites. If there is any chance a dog could bite a visitor to the owner’s home, the owner should place warning signs around the property and keep the animal separated until the guest leaves.

Dogs benefit greatly from canine training courses and animal therapists. Some dogs who suffered abuse and/or neglect from previous owners may lash out later in life, and therapy can help these animals cope with their new lives and prevent attacks. Dog owners who invest in proper training can also rest assured knowing their dog is capable of discipline, which will further reduce the likelihood of bites.

Tips for Avoiding Bites from Strangers’ Dogs

Some people enjoy stopping to pet passing dogs. It is imperative to respect the dog’s owner in these situations and ask permission. Some owners are happy to let their pets enjoy attention from strangers, but if a dog owner warns you not to pet the dog, heed this warning. Do not do anything that could provoke the dog to attack when passing other peoples’ dogs in public or walking by a home with a dog in the house or in the yard. Teach your children the importance of asking permission before approaching a dog.

Know When to Contact an Attorney

Speak with a personal injury attorney with experience in dog bite cases as soon as possible if you have suffered a dog bite from an unleashed dog, a known dangerous dog, or a dog knocked you over and caused an injury. You will not be able to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner if you unlawfully enter a dog owner’s property, provoke the dog, abuse the dog, or otherwise instigate the attack.

If you have questions about your rights as a dog bite victim or your legal obligations as a dog owner, reach out to a reliable West Virginia dog bite attorney for advice. An attorney can help injured dog bite victims secure compensation for their damages and also help dog owners protect themselves from unjust lawsuits.