Each year, dogs bite 4.5 million people. More than half of all Wisconsin dog bite victims are children under the age of 15. Family pets in their own homes bite many young dog bite victims in Wisconsin. Often, the dogs belong to breeds that are not considered dangerous.
A study conducted at the Children's Hospital on the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus looked at the medical records of 537 children treated for facial dog bites. Three-year-olds were at the highest risk for being bitten by the family dog. These bites often occurred when the dog felt that the child was threatening to take the dog’s food or toys. In other cases, a loud sound or sudden movement frightened the dog. Some dogs had medical conditions. Older children were more likely to be bitten if the dog felt the child was encroaching on its territory.
If you have a dog in your home, don’t leave your young child alone with the dog—especially if the dog has a history of biting. Dogs that have bitten are likely to bite again. Review these dog safety tips with your child:
- Never bother a dog that is sleeping, eating, or taking care of puppies.
- Never touch a dog’s food or toys.
- Never play with a dog unless a grown-up is present.
- Never approach a dog that you don’t know.
- Never look a dog in the eye.
- Always ask before petting a dog.
- Let the dog sniff you before you pet it.
- Never run away from a dog or scream.
- If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, stand as still as possible.
- If a dog knocks you down, roll into a tight ball and stay still (like a turtle).
- Let a grown-up know if you see any stray dogs or dogs that are behaving strangely.
- If a dog bites you, tell a grown-up immediately.
The Milwaukee dog bite lawyers at Hupy and Abraham offer information and resources for Wisconsin dog bite victims and their families. To discuss your own dog bite claim, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.