June 30, 2022
Do Dog Bite Cases Increase in Summer?
The longer and warmer sunny summer days in Pennsylvania generally encourage more people to enjoy more time outside. The relatively stable summer weather also means more dogs are spending more time outdoors, for a variety of reasons. Some dogs might be strays. Some might be on leashes and with their owners. Some might have owners who irresponsibly let their dogs roam loose. More people and more dogs outside generally add up to more dog bites for many reasons.
Dog bites cause about 44,000 facial injuries annually. They also account for about one percent of annual visits to the emergency room in the United States.
Common Reasons for Dog Bites
Dog bites generally do not occur randomly. Many local apartment units, insurers, and housing associations place restrictions on certain breeds that are considered to be aggressive.
A pit bull terrier, German Shepherd, and Doberman pinscher are examples. Such dog breeds often are restricted due to what many consider to be their aggressive tendencies. Yet, even relatively docile dogs could bite someone.
There are reasons why a dog might bite someone. The American Veterinary Medical Association says the most common causes generally are:
- Defending territory
- Feeling threatened
- Protecting an owner or another loved one
No matter what the reason might be, a dog bite can be dangerous. A particularly vicious attack could result in death.
More School-Age Youth Are Out More Often During the Summer
Summer vacation and long and generally embraced heartily by school-age youth. Those children often are outside during the peak summertime daylight hours.
Some might have their family dogs with them. Others might be engaged in typical summertime activities. Sometimes, those outdoor activities come into conflict with dogs and end with dog bites.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says young children are the most vulnerable to suffering dog bite injuries. Young children also tend to suffer more serious injuries, so it is important for parents and guardians to ensure that their children know to be wary of unknown dogs and teach them not to do anything that might trigger an attack. Dog attacks on children often happen in parks and other public areas, but they also occur in neighborhoods, so it is important to watch young children closely in all settings.
Hot Summer Weather Aggravates Dogs
The hot summer sun can agitate just about anyone. A hot day can make you more irritable and more prone to become angry. Many large cities see increases in violent criminal activity during extended heatwaves.
Dogs also are more likely to become stressed and irritable during hot summer days. If a dog is dehydrated and its stress levels are high, it is more likely to become aggressive if a child or someone else gets too close or otherwise provokes it.
Dog owners should do their best to help keep their dogs hydrated and cool during hot summer weather. An ill-fed and dehydrated dog is more likely to wander in search of food and water and cross paths with a young child or someone else who might accidentally trigger an attack.
How to Prevent Dog Bites
It is wise to be wary of all unknown dogs and try not to provoke an attack. If you are your child approaches an unknown dog, it might interpret your actions as a threat. Even if the dog is leashed and with its owner, it might think that you pose a threat to its owner and try to defend it.
If a dog looks unwell, it might suffer from a disease or a medical condition that makes it especially aggressive. Any signs of aggression should warn you to stay away. Raised hair along the dog’s back, bared teeth, and growling are common indicators of aggression.
If a dog seems docile and is with its owner, you might ask the owner if it is okay to pet the animal. Doing so could help to show that you are not a threat to the dog’s owner and might prevent it from interpreting your actions as threatening.
The dog’s owner could tell you whether or not it is okay to approach it. The owner also could grip the leash more tightly and help to keep the dog calm and under control by petting it and speaking to it in a reassuring manner.
Liability for Dog Bites
About 36 percent of American households have at least one dog. A bite does not necessarily indicate a particular dog has a vicious disposition, and most states allow one bite before declaring a dog to be a threat to the safety of others.
A single bite could have many causes and might be a legitimate case of defending an owner against an aggressor. Two or more bites are a strong indicator that a dog has an aggressive disposition and might need to be removed from the local population.
A dog owner might negligently allow the pet to roam off the leash or outside of a fenced-in area. If that dog bites someone, the owner is liable for medical costs and damages.
The dog might have a history of bites or the owner might be especially negligent in controlling the animal. If so, it might be possible to seek and obtain punitive damages.
Pennsylvania law says the dog’s owner is liable for all medical costs. The state gives a dog-bite victim up to two years to file a civil lawsuit against the owner of the dog. The clock starts ticking on the date that the dog bite injury occurs.
Montgomery County Dog Bite lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C., Help to Hold Owners Liable for Dog Bites
If you or a family member suffers bodily injury from a dig bite, the Montgomery County dog bite lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C., can help. You can call us 267-861-7100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our law offices in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. We serve clients in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, Norristown, and throughout Pennsylvania.