Why Dogs Bite
Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyers Serving All of Georgia
Dog bite claims cost insurance companies an estimated $497 million dollars in 2011 alone, according to CBS News. The same CBS article also indicated that approximately 4.7 million people are bitten each year and that 800,000 people seek medical attention for their dog bite injuries. More than half of all dog bite victims are children. The Centers for Disease Control indicate that 16 people on average die each year as a result of a canine attack.
There are often specific reasons why dogs bite, and in many cases the reason comes down to improper training or to the dog’s misperception of a threat. When a dog bite occurs, the bite victim may be able to receive compensation from the insurance company that insures the dog’s owner.
If you or a family member has been bitten or attacked by a dog, contact our Georgia dog bite lawyers today for a free case evaluation by calling 770-400-0000 (“770-4-Million”) or filling out our online contact form.
At The Millar Law Firm, our experienced dog attack attorneys will work hard to protect your rights and interests. We help adults and children injured in dog bites and dog attacks across the Atlanta metro area and throughout Georgia. Our attorneys have secured more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts for our past clients.
Reasons Why Dogs Bite People
The Humane Society outlines three types of scenarios that can cause dogs to become aggressive and bite. The types of aggression include:
- Aggression motivated by fear – If a dog believes that there is danger, then a dog may strike and bite. Unfortunately, this can and does sometimes happen even if there is no actual danger. For example, a dog that is surprised by a stranger who bends down too quickly to pet it may be prompted to bite the stranger because the dog fears that the stranger will hurt it.
- Aggression caused by possessiveness or a desire to protect territory – Dogs are pack animals that are descended from wolves. Protecting themselves, their territory, their “pack” and their prized possessions is a way of life. These protective tendencies have not been entirely bred out of dogs, despite centuries of domestication. If a dog believes that its property is being encroached upon, that its food is being taken away or that someone is threatening a family member, the dog may show aggression or even bite. Many dogs that are otherwise docile may be prone to aggression due to possessiveness of food, while other dogs may exhibit leash aggression and become especially protective of their owners while walking on a leash with them.
- Redirected aggression – Redirected aggression can occur when a dog becomes excited, nervous or anxious as a result of some stimulus and then redirects the aggression onto another person or animal. For example, if two dogs are fighting each other and then a human enters the yard, the dog might attack the human out of redirected aggression that was originally targeted at the other dog.
When Dogs Bite
The different types of aggression can arise at different times. However, dogs may be especially likely to bite children because kids are not yet fully aware of how to interact with the animals and because children tend to use quick movements that can be perceived by dogs as being dangerous. The higher pitches of children’s voices can also make dogs more prone to bite because dogs will respond to what they believe is an excited or aggressive state in others. Dogs that are older and that are experiencing problems with their vision or hearing, or that have become more sensitive to touch, may also be more likely to bite.
In many cases, dogs that bite are dogs known to the victim. For example, many children are bitten by the family dog or by the dog of a neighbor. Letter carriers are also common victims of dog bites because they are perceived by canines as entering the dog’s territory.
Are Certain Dogs More Likely to Bite?
While there are many factors that can cause a dog to bite, a dog’s breed is one possible factor in determining why a dog acts out aggressively. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the breeds that are found to be most highly represented in biting incidents as of an April 2012 report include German shepherds, pit bulls, mixed breeds, Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Jack Russell terriers, collies, springer spaniels, Saint Bernards and Labrador retrievers. However, when considering the most serious injuries or fatal dog bite attacks, pit bulls are the dog most commonly involved in these bite incidents.
However, the AVMA also notes that while certain dogs tend to be involved in more bite incidents, the statistics on which breeds bite more have changed over time. The AVMA also suggests that the prevalence of a particular breed in the population at the time can help to explain why it appears that some dogs bite more than others.
A dog’s breed is only one of many factors. It is true that certain dogs may be more protective or territorial by nature and thus more prone to biting. However, ultimately the most important factors that will determine whether a dog is likely to bite include training and socialization. A dog that has been exposed to a variety of stimuli at a young age and a dog that understands its role within the pack and that it is subordinate to humans is much less likely to bite than an undisciplined dog or a dog that was not properly exposed to other people and animals as a puppy.
Get Help from Our Atlanta Dog Bite Lawyers Today
Regardless of the specific reason for a dog bite, the fact remains that a bite can cause painful and expensive injuries. A dog bite can lead to lacerations, bone fractures and permanent disfigurement, among other injuries. In the worst-case scenario, a dog bite can even result in death.
The experienced Atlanta dog bite lawyers at The Millar Law Firm can help you recover money if you have been bitten, attacked or mauled by a vicious dog. We may be able to help you recover money for your medical bills, including past and future surgery, for emotional injury – because being attacked by a vicious dog can be especially traumatic – and for future scarring and nerve damage. We have reached numerous six-figure ($100,000-plus) settlements in serious dog bite cases.
If you or a family member has been bitten or attacked by a dog, contact Millar Law today for a free case evaluation by calling 770-400-0000 ( “770-4-Million”) or reaching us online.