Though dogs are considered man's best friends, many dogs can cause bites and other injuries through unexpected, aggressive behavior. Whether the dog is not well trained, is sick or ill, or reacted defensively to you or a loved one, a dog bite should always be addressed both for the person bitten and the owner of the dog.
After a dog bite, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Read on for important steps you can take to ensure the situation is handled with care.
1. Treat the Wound
Immediately after being bitten by a dog, it is important to wash the area with soap and warm water. Even if the bite did not apparently break the skin or cause bleeding, a dog's mouth hosts a variety of bacteria that could eventually result in infections or other problems down the road.
Inspect the area and look for any bruises, breaks, tender areas, or anything that appears off in case you need to seek additional medical attention or speak to a dog bite attorney for further counsel.
2. Speak With the Owner
When a dog bites another person, it is important that the dog's owner be made aware of the incident. A large number of dog bites are caused by dogs who did not receive proper training or experienced some level of negligence at the hands of the owner. In other cases, the dog may be sick, frightened, or need medical attention for a condition that caused it to behave inappropriately.
In most states, the dog's owner maintains responsibility for the dog's behavior. This means that, should you need to contact a dog bite lawyer or doctor for injuries sustained due to the bite, the dog's owner is liable for the occurrence and any subsequent care.
3. Document and Report the Incident
As you assess the severity of dog bite, it's important to note and document the location and time of the incident as well as the dog breed, name, owner's name, and other relevant details about the event.
Take pictures of the bite area, especially if it begins to worsen, and keep a record of any conversations or accounts at the scene, including from any witnesses or between yourself and the dog owner. Additionally, you or a loved one should call local animal services to report the bite attack and file an official report.
4. Speak with Professionals
Because it is not always apparent just how lasting the consequences of a dog bite may be, it's better to be safe than sorry and consult with medical providers, animal control specialists, or a dog bite lawyer to understand your options moving forward. Only those experienced in dog bite cases can guide you to the best and safest next steps to ensure both that you or your loved ones are healthy and that another incident won't happen again.
For more information, contact a dog bite attorney near you.