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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Texas Woman Awarded $695,000 in Dog Bite Case

Did you know that each year, more than 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs? For an animal that is known as man’s best friend, that is a shockingly high number. But perhaps the dogs are not the ones to blame for their bites? Information from the Center for Disease Control and the American Veterinary Medical Association emphasize the role humans play in causing dog bites, and a recent case from Parker County seems to prove their point.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association both suggest that there are two ways humans encourage dog bites. First, many people do not properly socialize their dogs. Second, many people have bad dog-human relationship habits, which cause dogs to behave aggressively. 

Dogs That Are Not Properly Socialized Pose a Threat

It is important to remember that dogs evolved into what they are today from wolves. Although their wild animal instincts have mellowed over the millennia, a dog who is not accustomed to interacting with humans in a positive manner is more likely to view an unfamiliar human as a threat rather than a friend, causing them to attack. This is why properly socializing your pet dogs so they are comfortable around people and other animals is so important.

On the other end of the spectrum are dogs that are socialized by their owners to be aggressive. This appears to be what happened to a dog out near Brock, TX, which is just west of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. A women who was out for a walk in her neighborhood was attacked by a blue heeler which had reported been trained by its owners as an attack dog.

The victim suffered serious leg injuries that prevented her from walking, and also has bite mark scars. She successfully sued the dog’s owners and was awarded $695,000 by a jury.

Your Bad Habits May Put You in Danger

Just as people play a role in shaping the general behavior of dogs they own, they also help determine how dogs will act during a random encounter. The following list of “don’t” behaviors complied by the CDC on its dog bite prevention website probably contains one or two things you have done, especially if you are a dog lover.


  • Approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Run from a dog.
  • Panic or make loud noises.
  • Disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
  • Encourage your dog to play aggressively.
  • Let small children play with a dog unsupervised.

Each of these behaviors makes it much more likely that you or a loved one will be bitten by a dog.

What To Do If You’ve Been Bitten By A Dog

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, there are two things you should do immediately: care for your wounds and identify the dog that injured you.

Although a lot of people self-treat dog bites, the best course of action is visiting a doctor. Dog bites can easily become infected, or transmit a disease to you. Perhaps the most well-known dog bite disease is rabies, but that is just one of several diseases you can get from a dog bite. A doctor will be able to properly clean your wound and, if necessary, give you shots to prevent disease.

One of the ways a doctor is going to know whether you need shots is by contacting the owner of the dog that attacked you, which is why identifying the dog is just as critical as seeking medical attention. Knowing if the dog is current on its shots, and observing the dog’s behavior over the coming days is going to help the doctor decide how to treat you.

Seeking medical treatment and identifying the dog’s owner is also important if you want to get assistance paying your dog bite-related medical bills. Although it may seem silly to hire a lawyer or something as seemingly minor as a dog bite, working with an experienced personal injury attorney can end up being very helpful. There will likely be multiple insurance companies involved, and both companies are naturally going to fight to make the other company pay, putting you and your injuries in the middle of a turf war. An attorney can also help you deal with all the paperwork that comes with an injury like this so that you can focus on healing.

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