It comes as no surprise that the most common victims to vicious dog attacks are children. A study reveals that between 2005 to 2017, almost half of those killed by dog bites were kids that were less than 10 years old. Children are smaller and are less physically capable of retaliating against violent canines, so they tend to be easy targets.
Kids also lack the necessary experience and maturity when it comes to dealing with animals, so many of the victims often end up provoking a dog into attacking them. As a parent, it is crucial to teach your kid how to approach dogs in the following circumstances so they don’t end up in the hospital covered in bites and scratches:
Children are naturally curious and may not understand the dangers that come with approaching animals. Their first instinct when seeing a dog might be to run up and pet the canine on their head or back. Most dogs in California are often seen in a homeowner’s front yard.
Tell your child not to approach the dog if the owner is nowhere in sight. Even if there are no chained fences or warning signs present, you have no idea about the dog’s history or general behavior towards outsiders. Teach them the amount of space they should normally keep between them and the dog’s yard and what dangerous behaviors the dog could display that warrants further distance.
Dogs with owners present
You must instruct your child to ask for the owner’s permission if they want to play with a dog they spot on the owner’s yard or during a walk down the street. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends doing this regardless of how much the kid’s interacted with the pet before.
It’s also important to teach your child to avoid movements the dog might see as aggressive. This could include running at it, yelling at it, teasing the dog with their food and toys too much or grabbing them in an uncomfortable area like their ears or tails. Even though California is strict when it comes to dog bite liability, it still operates under the comparative negligence rule where injury compensation is dependent on how much the victim was at fault. If the owner witnesses any of these actions, they could use it in their defense.
It is never too early to teach your child about the importance of animal safety. If they follow your guidelines but still end up attacked by someone’s pet, talk with an attorney with experience in premises liability to help with medical costs.