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What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone

  1. Take him to a kennel or crate and lock him up, immediately. I have read numerous accounts of people who have lost their dog when the police showed up to investigate. Police might shoot the dog on sight or might haul him off to an animal shelter. But if you take your dog and lock him up in your house, it's less likely that the police will open fire. (This is not what the lawyers recommend, of course, but they are not concerned about your dog's welfare.)
  2. Talk to the person who was bitten and tell them that you will cover all their expenses. Have a first aid kit on hand and offer it to them. If they want to go to an emergency room, offer to drive. Do NOT tell them it was your dog's fault.
  3. After you secure the dog and do what you can for the person who was bitten, call your insurance company. (Of course, you should have homeowners insurance that covers your dog. If you do not, and you are sued, you could lose it all. If you own a dog that others consider vicious, you will have to pay more and will have trouble finding a carrier. The insurance company might not want to continue providing coverage after the first bite, but at least you'll be protected for that first incident.)
  4. Make an appointment to see your veterinarian and tell them you need a referral to see an animal behaviorist who deals with dog aggression. Even if your dog bit because he was trapped and being abused, his actions are still not normal and need to be addressed.
  5. If the police show up, just tell them the situation is being dealt with. You do not need to let them into your house without a warrant and do not need to surrender your dog. If they continue to harass you, tell them to call your lawyer. If the police become involved, you will need a lawyer. (Police and animal control officers hate this part of the article. They cannot bust into your home if they do not have a warrant. I have heard hundreds of people tell me stories about not being able to get their dogs back, and their dogs end up dead.)
  6. Purchase a muzzle for your dog so that if you are ordered to buy a muzzle, you will already have one if ordered to use it by the court.
  7. If the person who was bitten by your dog decides to sue, it is up to you to prove that your dog is not dangerous. You will want to get your dog into a canine good citizen program and follow advice on how to prove that your dog is not dangerous immediately.

These collars look painful, but it's important to keep your dog under control in public.

The Role Of Animal Control

Animal control is heavily involved when a dog attack occurs. The law provides animal control with a lot of power over the situation. For example, animal control officers are the ones that conduct the assessment required by law that categorize the reported dog as either dangerous or vicious. The animal control officer also provides the correct placement for the animal. In cases where the animal is deemed dangerous or vicious, the animal is specially placed during the quarantine process.

Dog Biting – Causes

Now that we have clarified the meaning of dog biting in the context of this article, next is the causes of dog biting: Why dogs bite.

UncontrolledUncontrolled German Shepherd biting may happen because:

  1. The dog may be ill
  2. The dog bite may be a reflex to a particular stimulus
  3. The dog may feel threatened and uses biting as defense
  4. You or someone else is intruding the dog’s assumed territory and you have not yet been accepted as the Pack leader
  5. The dog bite may be a symptom of a trauma suffered at some point earlier (possibly with a prior owner or handler, or with another dog)
  6. The dog bite may result as a consequence of mistakes made during puppy socialization!
  7. Or (most of the time), the dog bite results from a combination of stress and fear!

You see that the potential CAUSES of uncontrolled dog biting are similar to the potential causes of German Shepherd aggression, and this is no surprise:

As said at the top, uncontrolled dog biting can be the ultimate expression of dog aggression – yet often dog biting has a different cause.

What Happens When A Dog Bite Is Reported?

Those affected by a dog attack may wish to gain information on what action has been put into place after filing the report. It happens very often that a report is left untouched once someone files it with the government.

Most of the time, the report is either stored in a filing cabinet or database, and nothing is ever done about it. For this reason, many people wonder what happens to the costs accumulated from the bite, dog, and other bills.

One of the first steps that come after a report is filed is that the dog is quarantined. This usually entails that it is restricted to the owner's home. He or she is not allowed to let the dog go outside of the yard or house. Along with this restriction, the dog also shouldn't come in to contact with another person.

The dog is usually allowed to remain in the owner's custody until a disposition has been reached. These restrictions are required to be followed by the owner in order for the dog to be allowed in the owner's custody.

However, alternative circumstances can lead to the dog being taken to a shelter. The dog would be quarantined in that particular shelter until a determination is made. There are a couple of factors that may lead to this procedure being put in place. These are:

·       The owner is found not to be following the required restrictions

·       The dog is seen to be a considerable threat by either the local police department or local

animal control agency

Fatal dog attack statistics

From 2010 to 2019 there were 380 fatal dog attacks in the United States. The grim numbers of fatal dog attack statistics are better documented. Luckily for most of us, fatal dog attacks are rare. About one per year for every 8.4 million Americans.

But when we look at the period 10 years earlier from 2000 to 2009 then there were only 213 recorded fatal dog attacks in the US. If we look even further back to 1979-2005 then this report says “During this 27-year time period, there were 504 deaths reported.” Less than 19 per year and now in the last decade, it has doubled?

So, what happened? Did the dogs get almost two times meaner in ten years? Probably not. The internet happened and the smartphone happened. More dog attacks are recorded and reported. Also, the reported data is more readily available.

2019 U.S. State Dog Bite Insurance Claims

According to these state insurance claims, dog bite statistics are the highest in most populous states. People are bitten in certain states more frequently than others:

  1. California – 2,396 claims
  2. Florida – 1,268 claims
  3. Texas – 937 claims
  4. New York – 893 claims
  5. Illinois – 854 claims

What Is a One Bite Rule?

Some states have a rule that says that the dog owner will be held liable for injuries caused by the animal only if the owner knew (or should have known) about the animal's dangerous or vicious propensities. In other words, if the dog bit before, then the owner is responsible.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Uncontrolled dog biting vs Controlled dog biting

uncontrolled dog bitingThis article will address uncontrolled dog biting: The owner, trainer, or handler does not control the biting dog.

The person may not even be aware that the dog just bit someone: a person or another animal.

controlled dog bitingConversely, controlled dog biting means: The owner, trainer, or handler has the dog under control, and yet the dog bites.

The person may even want that the dog bites:

  • whether because it’s part of a dog bite training session
  • or because he or she feels being attacked, or whatever.

Avoid Flooding/Overwhelming

The goal is to avoid “flooding” your dog with stressful situations. Flooding refers to exposing your dog to prolonged or large amounts of things that scare or overwhelm them. It’s an approach that is generally anxiety-producing for dogs, and doesn’t do anything to shift your dog’s emotional response to the situation they find overwhelming. In these situations, it is more likely your dog will respond to being overwhelmed/overstimulated by biting.

Your dog’s comfort or tolerance for stimulating or stressful situations might shift depending on the degree of stress they are experiencing, how tired they are, as they age, or how unfamiliar a situation might be. For example, if you have a dog who hasn’t had anyone come into the home for the last year and suddenly you have a big birthday party, remember that people suddenly coming into the home could be overwhelming.

                         ©Tatiana Katsai - stock.a

©Tatiana Katsai – stock.adobe.com

How to Interact Safely With a Dog

Dogs are cute and often friendly, so it's easy to get excited when you see one. However, a dog can quickly turn on someone it doesn't know.

Even if you don't have a dog of your own, it's important for you and other people in your sphere, including children, to know how to interact with dogs and how and when to approach one.

  • Never try to approach or touch an unfamiliar dog without first asking for the owner's permission. If the dog's owner isn't present, don't go near the dog.
  • Never approach a dog that's eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. Dogs in these situations are more likely to be protective and are easily startled.
  • Don't approach, touch, or attempt to move an injured dog. Instead, contact a veterinary professional or animal control for assistance.
  • Never leave a young child or a baby alone with any dog for any reason.
  • When you're meeting an unknown dog, allow the dog to come to you. Crouch down or turn to the side. Let it sniff your hand before you pet it.
  • Don't put your face near an unknown dog; this includes "hugs and kisses."
  • If you're cornered by a dog, remain still and avoid eye contact. Never run or scream. When the dog stops paying attention to you, slowly back away.
  • If you're knocked over by a dog, fall to your side in a fetal position and cover your head and face. Remain very still and calm.

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