While commonly referred to as man's best friend, every dog has the capacity to bite or attack. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that annually roughly 4.5 million people in the U.S. report being bitten by dogs. Of those reported bites, approximately 20 percent of dog bite victims seek medical treatment.
When a dog bites or attacks, the resulting injuries can be both physically and emotionally painful. Roughly 50 percent of all dog bite victims are children and bite injuries may result in puncture wounds and flesh tears to the head, face and extremities. Medical costs associated with the treatment of a dog bite can quickly total in the thousands and may even require an individual to undergo reconstructive surgery.
There are numerous reasons why a dog may bite or attack. For example, a dog may bite if it feels scared, threatened, ill, excited and surprised. Individuals who own a dog or who encounter a dog while out walking or at a park, would be wise to follow these safety tips:
• Never approach or try to pet a strange dog
• Never approach a dog when it is eating or startle a sleeping dog
• Never leave a young child alone and unsupervised with a dog
• Never pull on a dog's tail or engage in overly-aggressive play with a dog
In cases where an individual suffers a dog bite, he or she may choose to take legal action against the dog's owner. Under Michigan law, a dog owner is strictly liable, meaning that he or she is responsible for any damages suffered as a result of a dog’s bite.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Dog Bites," Feb. 20, 2015
Michigan Legislature, "Section 287.351: LIABILITY OF OWNER FOR DOG BITE (EXCERPT) Act 73 of 1939," Feb. 20, 2015