Every year, 4.5 million dog bites happen in the United States. While we tend to think of dogs as friendly and furry, many dog bites occur in the home — as many as half. Even more worrisome, 20% of the injuries caused by dog bites become infected. Infections can be serious and even lead to death.
One-half of the victims of dog bites every year are children between 5 and 9 years old.
What to Do If a Dog Bites
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it’s very important to remain calm. Do not strike or raise your voice to the dog.
Dogs bite for multiple reasons, including their own fear of being attacked. They may perceive being struck or spoken to loudly as an attack, and bite again or attack. If they are biting because they have rabies, striking or screaming at them may exacerbate their behavior.
Remove yourself immediately from the dog’s vicinity.
Then, take the following steps.
- Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water.
- Put an antibiotic ointment on the injury after the area is washed and dried. Re-apply as indicated on the packaging.
- If the area the dog bit is bleeding or has torn the skin, place a sterile bandage on any wound.
- Elevate the area.
- Call a physician immediately if you are bleeding or there is damage to skin, muscles, or other tissues. It is also highly advisable to call a physician if you have not had a tetanus shot within five years or if the dog was acting strangely. The latter can be a sign of rabies. Note that frothing at the mouth is not necessarily present if a dog has rabies.
- If you do not call a physician because the wound didn’t cause bleeding or break the skin, monitor the area for signs of infection. If the area becomes painful, red, or warm to the touch, you need to see a physician. It may be infected.
- If the dog was acting strangely or the attack was extreme, consider calling the police or your local animal control authority. Authorities need to be notified if an animal poses a danger to the community.
When a Dog Attacks in Louisiana
Owners of dogs who bite can be held liable under Louisiana state law if they knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous, and did not take reasonable care to prevent an animal attack.
The law also specifies that the dog cannot have been provoked. A child poking a neighbor’s animal with a sharp stick, for example, could be considered provocation in court.
Do You Need a Louisiana Dog Bite Attorney?
Animal attacks can be serious, causing injury and even death. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers is experienced in dog bite law in Louisiana. We will conduct an exhaustive investigation of the circumstances of your dog bite to make sure you are fully compensated for the injuries and losses you sustained, and to make sure that a dangerous dog is not allowed to harm others in the same way.
We have offices in both Baton Rouge and Lafayette for the convenience of our clients. Our initial consultation is completely free, with no obligation. Call Lafayette dog bite attorney Bart Bernard today to see how much your case is worth!
More on what to do after a dog bite:
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing Dog Bites. https://www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/index.html.
- WebMD. Dog Bites. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/dog-bites#1