Articles Posted in Dog Bites

040313 dog bite.jpgFlorissant – A mail carrier was attacked by a boxer-mix early Saturday afternoon while on her daily route.

21-year-old Aeriel Dixon, of Ferguson, was on her route in the 1600 block of Fernbrook Lane when a male boxer mix ran out of the door and attacked her, according to her mother, Angelia Spencer. The boxer bit a chunk from Dixon’s left calf and left bite marks on her hands after pushing open the front door of the home as she walked up to deliver the mail, said Robert Morris, a supervisor in Florissant’s health department

Dixon was taken to DePaul Health Center for treatment after the man, who had been watching the dog, pulled the boxer off her.

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In Bridgeton County, two men receive moderate injuries after walking on a trail at Riverwoods Park and Trail and are attacked by two stray dogs.

On January 28, 2013 around 4:30 p.m., the dog attack happened at the parking lot of the Riverwoods Park and Trail, near the end of St. Charles Rock Road along the Missouri River. The two men were attacked by a pit bull and chow mix.

The men were treated at the scene by Pattonville Fire Protection District paramedics with moderate injuries. One suffered a bite on his arm, the other suffered a bite on his leg. Later, the men drove themselves to a hospital for more treatment.

When the police arrived, an officer spotted one of the dogs as it came charging at them. The officer retrieved their gun and shot the dog in the shoulder. Police said the injured dog got up and ran into the woods with another dog.

The Riverwoods Park and Trail had been closed while the officers searched for the dogs. Later, the two dogs were spotted after dark as officers were setting up traps. According to the police, the dogs were collards with catch sticks and taken away by the St. Louis County Animal Control.

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Confine your dog immediately and check on the victim’s condition. If necessary, seek medical help.

Provide the victim with important information, such as the date of your dog’s last rabies vaccination.

Cooperate with the animal control official responsible for acquiring information about your dog. If your dog must be quarantined for any length of time, ask whether your dog may be confined within your home or at your veterinarian’s hospital. Strictly follow quarantine requirements for your dog.

Seek professional help to prevent your dog from biting again. Consult with your veterinarian, who may refer you to an animal behaviorist or a professional dog trainer. Your community animal care and control agency or humane society may also offer helpful services.

• If your dog’s dangerous behavior cannot be controlled, do not give your dog to someone else without carefully evaluating that person’s ability to protect your dog and prevent your dog from biting. Your dog is liable for any damage that it has done.

• Don’t give your dog to someone who wants a dangerous dog. Mean dogs are often forced to live miserable, isolated lives, and become even more likely to attack someone in the future. If you must give up your dog due to dangerous behavior, consult with your veterinarian and with your local animal control and control agency or humane society about your options.
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Dog bite laws can vary greatly depending on local jurisdiction. It is important that you research the laws in your area so you will know what to expect. The following conditions typically apple in dog bite cases:

• You will need to show proof of your dog’s rabies vaccination history.

• A quarantine period may be required. This will most likely be longer if the rabies vaccine is not current.

• Depending on the situation and your dog’s history, it may be possible for your dog to be designated a “dangerous dog.” You may have to comply with specific laws regarding the handling of your dog.

• Laws may require that your dog is euthanized if your dog is considered “dangerous,” if they injury was very serious, or if a fatality occurred. In addition, you could be held legally responsible and face criminal charges.

Your Role After the Dog Bite:

The dog bite victim may choose to press charges and/or file a civil suit against you. In these cases, you should immediately hire an attorney.

In reality, proving your dog was provoked or somehow justified will be difficult unless it can be proven that the victim was committing a crime. This may be an argument that is not worth having. While you may or may not be legally ordered to cover the victim’s medical expenses, it is your responsibility to prevent this type of thing from happening in the future. Take measures to prevent the dog from biting again – contact a professional trainer and possibly a veterinary behaviorist.
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Dog ownership is a serious commitment that consists of vital duties. Before you decide to get a dog, you must pledge to be responsible. In addition to meeting your dog’s basic needs, here are some of the most important rules of conscientious dog ownership.

1) Commit for the Long Haul:
When you get a dog, it is not like getting a loan. When your dog misbehaves, you can’t just trade the dog in. If your dog gets sick, it is your job to get help and get treatment. If circumstanced in your home environment change, you must consider the toll it will take on your dog and make every effort to help your dog along the way.

2) Make Time For Your Dog:
Bonding is not something you can do once and assume it’s finished. The bond with your dog is built during the first few weeks to months of ownership, but maintaining the bond is a lifelong process. Remember that while you are at work, out with friends, or running errands, your dog is usually just waiting for you to come home.

3) Provide Proper Identification:
Your dog should wear a collar at all times with current identification. Consider microchipping your dog for an added layer of protection. Proper identification can help you become reunited with your dog if lost rather than letting your dog become one more homeless pet in an overcrowded shelter.

4) Spay or Neuter:
Millions of pets are euthanized each year because of pet overpopulation. If you do not have your pet dog spayed or neutered you may be contributing to this problem. If your dog is suitable for breeding, be a responsible breeder. Mixed-breed dogs, “purebred” dogs with unknown genetic histories, and dogs with health problems should not be allowed to breed. You can help save lives. Do not be a backyard breeder!

5) Keep Your Dog Healthy:
Always provide plenty of fresh water and an appropriate amount of quality food for your dog. A place of shelter and comfort is also important for your dog’s physical and mental wellness, and exercise is a must. Because of their survival instincts, dogs are not as likely to show pain or illness as humans. Regular visits to your veterinarian are essential, as they can help you prevent serious health problems and detect minor issues before they become severe.

6) Train Your Dog:
Canine etiquette not only benefits you and your dog; it also benefits others. A well-behaved and properly socialized dog is less likely to upset people and pets in public places and will be more welcome to gatherings. If your dog’s misbehavior results in any sort of accident, injury or similar incident, you must take full responsibility for your behavior.
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If your dog bites someone, your first reaction might be shock or to panic. However, it is important to take swift action if a dog bite occurs. Don’t delay – if your dog bites someone, take the following necessary steps:

• Confine your dog to a crate of another room.

• Help the bite victim and wash the wound thoroughly with warm, soapy water.

• Be courteous and sympathetic to the bite victim. Avoid laying blame or getting defensive. Remember what you say may be used against you later if legal or civil action is taken.

• Contact a medical professional for the bite victim. Depending on the severity of the bite, an ambulance may be needed.

• Exchange contact information with the victim. Provide your insurance information, if applicable.

• If there were witnesses, obtain their contact information.

• Contact your veterinarian and obtain your dog’s medical records. Inform local authorities of the incident and comply with their orders.
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How do you avoid getting bit by a dog? Start by never approaching an unfamiliar dog, especially one who’s tired or confined behind a fence or in a car. Don’t pet a dog–even your own–without letting him see and sniff you first.

Never turn your back to a dog and run away. A dog’s natural instinct will be to chase and catch you.

Don’t disturb a dog while it’s sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or caring for puppies. Be cautious around strange dogs. Always assume that a dog who doesn’t know you may see you as an intruder or a threat.

What to do if you think a dog might attack:
If you are approached by a dog that may attack you, follow these steps;

• Resist the impulse to scream and run away.
• Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog.
• Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until it is out of sight.
• If the dog does attack, “feed” it your jacket, purse, bicycle, or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog.
• If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.

What to do if you’re bitten by a dog:
If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, try not to panic and follow these steps;

• Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
• Contact your physician for additional care and advice.
• Report the bite to your local animal care and control agency. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including its owner’s name and the address where the dog lives. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw it, whether you’ve seen the dog before, and in which direction the dog went.
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How many dog bites occur?
Almost 75 million dogs live in the United States, and since many victims of dog bites don’t seek medical care or report the attack, it may be that the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate of 4.5 million dog bites each year in the U.S. may be too low. Approximately 880,000 dog bite victims seek emergency medical care at hospitals in the U.S. every year.

Dog’s teeth and the pressure exerted by their jaws can cause significant damage to the tissues under the skin, including bones, muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves.

More than 30,000 victims of dog bites undergo reconstructive surgery each year, and 15-20 people die of dog bites yearly.

Who is at risk for a dog bite?
The risk of being bitten by a dog increases if there is a dog in the home; the more dogs there are, the greater the risk. Men are more frequent victims than women.

Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are more likely to be bitten by a dog than other age groups. Children are also more likely to present for medical attention.

What should I do if someone is bitten by a dog?
The dog bite victim needs to be taken to a safe place away from the assailant dog to prevent further attack and injury. Since dog bites can cause significant damage beneath the skin, a type of injury that cannot always easily be appreciated, medical care should be accessed by a health care practitioner.

Wounds should be kept elevated and, if possible, washing the wound with tap water may be attempted.

Information should be obtained from the dog’s owner about the dog’s rabies immunization status, but if that is not possible, hospital, animal control centers, or law enforcement personnel will help gather any required information.

Dog bites at a glance:
• Dog bites account for more than 90% of all animal bites. 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the U.S., and more than 30,000 victims require constructive surgery.
• Injuries may involve structures deep beneath the skin including muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels.
• Infections, including tetanus and rabies, need to be considered.
• Wound cleaning decreases the risk of infection.
• Skin repair increases the risk of infection, and the decision to suture the skin balances the risk of infection versus the benefit of a better appearing scar.
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Each day, about 1,000 U.S. citizens require emergency care treatment for dog bite injuries. The following study examines injury occurrence and the dog breeds that are most likely to bite.

Between 1982 and 2011, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, shows that the combination of pit bulls, Rottweiler’s, their close mixes and wolf hybrids are the most responsible for serious injury and death:

• 77% of attacks that induce bodily harm • 73% of attacks to children • 81% of attack to adults • 68% of attacks that result in fatalities • 76% that result in maiming

The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200, approximately 50% higher than the average injury-related hospital stay. There are 4 times as many dog bite-related emergency visits and 3 times as many hospital stays in rural areas than in urban areas.

In 2001, an estimated 368,245 persons were treated in U.S. emergency rooms for nonfatal dog bite-related injuries. 42% of dog bites in 2001 occurred among children aged 14 years and younger. Injury rates were highest among children aged 5-9 years and significantly higher for boys than girls.

Which Dogs Bite?

In 1994, researchers released a study of “which dogs bite” based on 1991 Denver County dog bite data. (Please note, pit bulls are not included in this study).

• Biters are 6.2 times as likely to be male than female • Biters are 2.6 times as likely to be intact than neutered • Biters are 2.8 times as likely to be chained as unchained
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Teach your dog well

Teach your dog appropriate behavior. Don’t teach your dog to chase after or attack others, even in fun. Your dog can’t always understand the difference between play and real-life situations. Set appropriate limits for your dog’s behavior. Don’t wait for an accident. The first time your dog exhibits dangerous behavior towards any person, seek professional help from your veterinarian, an animal behaviorist, or a qualified dog trainer.

Your community animal care and control agency or humane society may also offer helpful services. Dangerous behavior toward other animals many eventually lead to dangerous behavior toward people, and is also a reason to seek professional help.

Be a responsible dog owner
License your dog as required by law, and provide regular veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations. For everyone’s safety, don’t allow your dog to roam alone. Make your dog a member of your family: Dogs who spend a great deal of time alone in the backyard or tied on a chain often become dangerous. Dogs who are well socialized and supervised are much less likely to bite.

Err on the safe side
If you don’t know how your dog will react to a new situation, be cautious. If your dog may panic in crowds, leave your dog at home. If your dog overreacts to visitors or delivery or service personnel, keep him in another room. Work with professionals to help your dog become accustomed to these and other situations. Until you are confident of your dog’s behavior, however, avoid stressful settings.
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