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Animal bites: how to avoid them and how to recover from them

Many families in Wisconsin and across the country have dogs or are around dogs often. Most interactions with dogs are without incident; however, it is important to remember that any dog can bite someone under certain circumstances. There are roughly 4.5 million dog bites in the nation annually, more than any other type of animal bites. Knowing how to avoid being bitten and what to do if someone is bitten are both useful pieces of information to know.

To avoid a dog bite, it is best to not approach a dog that is not familiar. However, if one comes near a person, the best thing to do is to remain quiet and avoid making eye contact with the animal. An authoritative voice is also helpful. One should also never bother a dog when it is eating or sleeping. It is also wise never to interfere if dogs are fighting as they may assume a person is an opponent as well and attack.

As most of dog bites occur in children, experts recommend that children always need to be supervised when playing with dogs. If attacked, it is best to put something between the dog and the person. The attack should also be reported to local animal control officials to prevent future dog bites.

While there are many types of animal bites, ranging from mild to serious, there are some common actions to take if bitten. Always clean and cover the wound to prevent infections. Details regarding the bite should be reported to animal control and the dog's owner. Finally, seek medical attention if anyone feels sick or suspects that the dog may be infected.

Wisconsin is a strict liability state where a dog's owner is responsible for the actions of his or her pet, whether or not there is a history of previous attacks. If someone has suffered injuries from animal bites, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed against the dog's owner. A personal injury lawyer can sort through the details of the process and recommend the best course of action to take. A monetary reward from a successful lawsuit can help with medical expenses, physical therapy and/or counseling. 

Source: The Huffington Post, "How to Stay Safe Around Dogs and How to Recover if You are Bitten by a Dog", Johnathan Cooper and Nabil Ebraheim, July 28, 2017

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