You might have seen a video that went viral this summer of an unprovoked dog bite attack on a little boy in California. The boy’s heroic cat literally ran the dog off as it was attacking the boy. While the boy did suffer a deep bite that required stitches, his injuries could’ve been much worse without the quick actions of his faithful cat guardian.

Dog Bite Injuries Are No Joke

Whether it’s perpetrated by a vicious German Shepherd or a little, fluffy white dog with a bad attitude, dog bite injuries are no laughing matter. National data compiled regarding dog bite injuries show that as many as 4.5 million people per year are victims.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released data that shows that dog bite victims requiring reconstructive surgery number over 20,000 people per year. In 2012 that number reached almost 30,000. Additional data illustrated that almost half of all dog bite victims seen in hospital emergency rooms every year are kids under the age of 18. The age group at highest risk are kids in the age range of 5 to 9 years.

Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe

It is important to keep our children safe from harm around dogs. Here are five useful tips to help your kids avoid a bite from dogs and other animals in general.

1. Teach your kids to respect all dogs and other animals. This includes not disturbing them while they’re eating, sleeping, or chewing or playing with a toy.

2. Teach your kids the importance of giving dogs a respectable amount of space. Dogs or any other animals should never be backed up or cornered against a wall, a piece of furniture, or in their resting places or beds.

3. Remind your children that all unfamiliar dogs, even the small, cute and, or fluffy varieties should not be touched or approached in any way without permission from an adult.

4. Prepare your children for how to respond to an aggressive dog. Teach children to quietly and purposefully walk, not run, away if they are threatened by an aggressive dog. If the child is confronted by the dog, The American Veterinary Association advises parents to, “Instruct them to stand still if a dog goes after them, then take a defensive position. It often helps to tell them to ‘be a tree’: stand quietly, with their hands low and clasped in front of them, remain still and keep their head down as if looking at their feet. If they are knocked down, teach them to cover their head and neck with their arms and curl into a ball.”

5. Teach children, especially small children and toddlers, that they should never put their face at eye level with an animal’s face. The animal can misinterpret the affection as aggression.

Florida Dog Bite Injury Law

In Florida, all canine owners are generally held to be liable if their animal’s behavior results in physical injury or property harm. Victims of any age who sustain a dog bite or related injury are generally entitled to request damages and compensation. Possible awards of damages may consist of medical expenses, lost wages, and related out-of-pocket expenses.

Additionally in Florida, potential liability is not determined on factors regarding whether or not the canine was identified in the past to be dangerous or aggressive. The legal team at Reed & Reed is always available to give you more information about protecting yourself and your family in the aftermath of a dog bite injury. From our office in Brandon, we help clients in Tampa, New Tampa, Plant City, throughout Hillsborough County, and the state of Florida. Contact an attorney at Reed & Reed by calling (813) 438-5960, or you can contact us through our website to schedule a consultation.