Many vets and pet professionals across the state are offering tips for pet owners to reduce their risk of accidental dog bites.
- Become breed aware and adopt a breed conducive to your lifestyle.
- Dedicate time to spend with a potential pet before committing to an adoption.
- Exercise caution when introducing new pets to small children.
- Learn about decompression when adopting a shelter dog.
- Secure dogs when strangers approach your home.
- Practice proper animal socialization.
- Invest in do not pet harnesses to warn strangers to stay away from the dog.
- Learn about the cues that animals give to show their frustration.
According to the Information Insurance Institute, 794 dog related insurance claims in Pennsylvania totaled $24.2 million dollars in 2015.
An interesting fact to take into consideration is that not all of these claims were bite related. Philadelphia attorney, Joel Kofsky, agrees that it’s not just dog bites that result in pet-related accidents.
Mr Kofsky, explains: “Dog bites are certainly a concern. People worry about their kids and the neighbor’s dog, or a strange dog at the park. But, they are not the only factor in dog-related accidents. Dogs breaking free from the yard and knocking over cyclists are often overlooked in pet owner education. However, these types of accidents are far-reaching.”
The scenario is all too common. A loving pet owner takes his well-trained dog to run off leash in the woods. Along comes a mountain bike rider, and, a dog being a dog, chases the bike rider.
Naturally, the bike rider assumes the dog wants to bite him, so he speeds up. This results in the dog speeding up. Riding a bike quickly through the woods can be dangerous, and all too often this scenario ends up with the cyclist crashing before the dog’s owner can restrain him.
This does not just happen in the woods on trails either. Dogs that free themselves from back yards or who are too strong for their owners while on walks also add to the dangers cyclists face.
While a bike crash may seem like an all too common accident for those who have a passion for cycling, the fact is, these types of incidents can have serious side effects. One bicycle club of 120 members reports that eight riders have been in serious crashes in the past five years. And the injuries that resulted from these crashes were anything but minor.
They ranged from broken pelvises and broken collar bones to two years worth of reconstructive surgeries. All the victims spent a substantial time off of work. And this is just numbers from one bicycle club.
Attorney Kofsky reminds victims, “You do not know what the long-term effects of any injury will be and Insurance companies will try take advantage of what a dog bite victim does not understand.”
In most cases, dog owners are good, loving people who invite canine companionship into their homes. But, what needs to be remembered is that dog owners have the responsibility of securing their pets so that they do not cause others harm.
In the case of any dog-related accident, the following steps should be taken:
- Call the police immediately and press charges, even in the case of knowing the dog owner. The primary concern needs to be the well being of the victim and others safety.
- Get treatment for any injuries that may have been sustained.
- Victims should call an attorney so that the insurance companies do not take advantage of the situation.
Pet ownership is certainly a rewarding experience, and responsible pet owners can reap those benefits. But, anyone who owns a dog owes it to innocent people to keep their dogs confined and restrained.