A 2018 study by researchers at the University of Liverpool shows anxious people are more likely to suffer dog bites. These findings were based on a cross-section of about 700 individuals throughout Great Britain. Survey subjects were asked if anyone in their household had suffered a dog bite, whether they owned a dog, the seriousness of the bite and if the victim knew the dog that bit them.
The subjects were then given a personality test to measure their emotional makeup and other factors that could indicate anxiety. The findings showed that those who considered themselves more anxious and neurotic were at greater risk of being bitten.
If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, contact the dog bite lawyers at The Dominguez Firm today for a FREE consultation. We’re available to take your call at 800-818-1818. Below you’ll find more information on this study, causes of dog bites and what to do if you or someone close to you is bitten by a dog.
What Causes Aggression in Dogs?
Dogs make wonderful pets. They have been loyal companions to humans for thousands of years. However, just like humans, they can become aggressive and act out.
The age-old belief that dogs can smell fear appears to be true. The canine sense of smell is famous. They’re also incredibly adept at reading human body language. If a person becomes nervous around a dog, they can begin to move in a way the dog considers strange. Nervous people sweat and release cortisol and adrenaline, scents dogs can distinguish as signs of fear. All of these factors can cause a dog to become aggressive and bite.
There are many other reasons for aggression in dogs:
Pent up energy – All dogs, regardless of their breed have a prey drive. They were bred to hunt and chase. If their owners don’t provide them with enough playtime and exercise, they’ll satisfy this need some other way. It can, for example, be triggered by someone jogging nearby.
A dog with little to no training – If a dog isn’t trained and socialized properly, it can sometimes consider itself the pack leader, even with humans. It may try to dominate you by attempting to herd you and other family members. It might nip or bite to claim dominance.
A poorly socialized dog can also show aggression towards other dogs. You’ve probably seen dogs snarl and growl at other dogs while being walked. Usually, the owner is being pulled along by the dog. This is a prime example of a poorly trained and socialized dog.
Dogs that have been abused – These dogs need special care and handling to trust humans again. They attack out of fear because of their troubled past.
Human behavior – Children are naturally attracted to dogs. Sadly, they make up over 50% of all dog bite victims in the U.S. They’re more likely to suffer serious injuries as well. Younger children between the ages of 3 and 10 can make sudden movements, shout and approach a dog too quickly. It’s important to teach children how to behave around dogs whether they know the dog or not. That can help avoid a trip to the hospital.
Never approach an unfamiliar dog. If someone is walking their dog, ask before attempting to pet it.
Lastly, dogs will attack and bite if they are protecting their puppies.
What is Territorial Aggression?
Dogs that have been trained as guard dogs can display aggression towards anyone that approaches their owner’s property, whether they know them or not.
Some dogs will show territorial aggression if anyone comes near a particular family member to protect them, no matter the circumstances. This can be a problem if friends and family are visiting.
Certain breeds, such as Dobermans make excellent guard dogs. However, like all guard dogs, they need to be socialized at an early age to avoid territorial aggression and biting.
Are Certain Breeds More Aggressive?
Yes. When looking at hospital visits and deaths caused by dog bites, a clear pattern emerges. Certain dog breeds are more aggressive.
The American Veterinary Association listed the following dog breeds as more prone to aggression and biting:
- German Shepherd
- Pitt Bull types
- Chow Chow
- Saint Bernard
Smaller breeds, like chihuahuas, can be aggressive, but given their small size, they rarely inflict serious injuries when they bite. Also, when certain dog breeds become popular, they can begin appearing on lists of aggressive dogs. Huskies are an example of this.
These lists and media portrayals generate controversy, especially among owners of these dog breeds. Insurance companies however take these lists seriously. They charge homeowners with these and certain other breeds more for home insurance. Landlords are known to avoid renting to owners of these breeds.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
If the skin was broken, it’s crucial to seek medical attention. Even a minor bite can become serious. The area can become seriously infected. In some cases, the dog may have rabies.
Serious attacks can cause major injuries:
- Eye injuries
- Nerve damage
- Torn ligaments
The victim will also need emotional health counseling to deal with the attack.
Many people, especially children have been killed in dog attacks. When that happens, their legal next of kin have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the owner of the dog involved.
Can I Take Legal Action if I Suffered an Unprovoked Dog Bite?
California has strict laws regarding dog bites. Other states give dogs a second chance. California doesn’t. Victims can sue the owner after just one bite, even if the dog has no history of aggression.
There are some exceptions to this law:
- If you provoked or harassed the dog.
- You work as a trainer or veterinarian. These fields put you more at risk of being bitten by a dog.
- You were bitten while trespassing on someone’s property, whether you meant to or not.
- You were bitten by a police or military dog.
If none of these exceptions apply to you, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the dog that bit you.
Call the Dog Bite Lawyers at The Dominguez Firm
If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, contact The Dominguez Firm right away for a FREE consultation at 800-818-1818. Whether you’re afraid of dogs or not, being bitten by one can traumatize you for life. You’ll have to deal with medical bills, lost income and the pain and suffering that comes from a dog bite. Let us fight to get you the maximum compensation you’re legally entitled to while you concentrate on your recovery.
The Dominguez Firm works on a contingency basis. That means we receive payment at the end of your case as a percentage of your final settlement or verdict. You don’t have to worry about upfront costs or hidden fees. Plus, in the unlikely event we don’t obtain compensation for you, you owe us nothing. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. So call us today!