Dog lovers in Texas and elsewhere consider their pets to be members of their families. Dog owners are obligated, however, to ensure the safety of anyone who is exposed to their dog’s presence. Whether a person has hired a pet sitter or encounters a stranger at a park, when dog bites occur, pet owners may be liable if those who suffered injuries file legal claims and prove that an owner’s negligence was a causal factor in the attack.
Dogs have inherited certain canine behaviors from animals in the wild. Wolves, for instance, have stances, vocal sounds and facial expressions to ward off adversaries so that they can protect their food and their territory. Domesticated animals like dogs exhibit similar behaviors when they feel threatened or challenged by other animals or humans.
Pay attention to these tell-tale signs that warn of possible dog bites
When visiting a friend who has a dog or walking down a street, or sitting on a park bench, etc., beware if a nearby dog exhibits any of the behaviors on the following list:
- A dog about to bite someone may send a warning by stiffening his or her torso.
- If a dog drops its tail below its body or raises it as high as it can go, it is conveying a warning to “back off or get bitten.”
- When a dog suddenly drops its ears pointing toward the back of its head, an attack may be imminent.
- Straddling an object while growling means a bite may follow.
- Aggressive snarling or growling while baring teeth is a pre-attack behavior.
A person should try to safely gain distance from a dog that is exhibiting these behaviors. If a dog bites, know where to seek support.
Medical attention is a top priority. If evidence exists to show that the dog owner’s negligence was a contributing factor in the attack, a recovering victim may want to discuss filing a claim with a Texas personal injury attorney.