In a previous blog, we talked about a woman who was found mauled to death by aggressive dogs in Northeast Austin and what the dog bite laws are in Texas. Just before this incident, KVUE reported a child who sustained an injury from a dog bite in Ramsey Park. However, the dog owner walked away in the midst of the commotion. This meant that because the dog owner did not stay and provide vet records to the family, the child had to undergo multiple rounds of shots.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2001 and 2003, there were approximately 4.5 million dog bites inflicted each year. Of these, approximately 350,000 bite victims sought medical attention in emergency rooms. Worse, this number appears to be rising. Last year, Texas became the number one state for fatal dog attacks with five deaths recorded.
What to Do When Faced With an Aggressive Dog
Dog bites can lead to serious injuries, and studies show children are often more susceptible to them. Types of injuries that result from dog bites include:
- Broken bones
- Injuries to eyes
- Severe scarring
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Avulsion and loss of tissue
- Psychological trauma
However, there are steps you can take to prevent injuries when faced with an aggressive dog, such as the following:
- Try to remain calm. It is no secret animals can sense fear, and this might encourage the dog.
- Do not run. This triggers the dog’s instinct to chase and it is very unlikely you can outrun a dog, regardless of its size.
- If possible, call the police. If there is a witness, instruct them to call the police, who will dispatch animal services to handle the dogs.
- If the dog is keeping his distance, but still exhibiting aggressive behavior, remain motionless and rigid. Stand in a way that allows you to keep the dog in your line of vision without making direct eye contact. Curl your fingers into fists, so that they do not get bitten.
- If possible, distract the dog with another object. If the dog continues to act in a threatening manner, give him a backpack to chew on or ward him off with a stick.
- Use a commanding voice. In some cases, this dominant display may work to intimidate a dog enough to leave the area.
If the worst happens and you are attacked, try to remember to protect your, chest, face and throat. Immediately seek medical attention to minimize the risk of infection and receive all the vaccinations you may need. Contact the police immediately and consult an attorney who can discuss with you Texas dog bite laws and assess your rights in the situation.
Aaron Allison is a dog bite attorney in Austin, Texas who fights for victims who have sustained injuries from dog bites.