In just the first half of 2023, Miami-Dade County Animal Services reported 1,080 animal bites to humans – marking an 11% rise from the previous year. Nationally, the numbers are more staggering. The CDC estimates a staggering 4.5 million dog bites occurring in the United States each year. What’s concerning is that many of these incidents could lead to serious injuries, even death.
As advocates of community safety, we’d like to stress the importance of pet owners understanding their potential liability. Not only can these bites result in physical harm, but they can also lead to significant legal repercussions for the pet owner.
Miami Animal Services released some critical safety tips that can help reduce these incidents:
– Know the Dog’s Behavior: Avoid dogs that seem aggressive, are unleashed, or are exhibiting signs of stress like growling or barking.
– Calm Approach: If an unfamiliar dog approaches, remain calm. Do not run or scream. Your composed demeanor might deter potential aggression.
– Always Ask First: Before petting any dog, ask the owner for permission. Remember, every dog is different. Some may not be comfortable with strangers.
– Petting Protocol: Allow the dog to sniff your closed hand before petting. Opt for their shoulders or chest, and avoid sudden movements or direct face-to-face interactions.
– Supervise Interactions: Especially between children and dogs. Kids might unintentionally provoke a dog, and a close watch can prevent unwanted incidents.
– Local Laws Matter: Miami-Dade County law mandates that pets be leashed in public. Leashing ensures not just the safety of the community but also protects your pet.
– Secure Your Premises: Check fences to ensure pets can’t escape and always have clear signage about dogs on your property.
Annette Jose, Interim Animal Services Director, encapsulated the sentiment perfectly, “By sharing these safety tips, we can help prevent injuries and promote positive interactions between people and pets.”
Animal Services is ardently working towards the well-being of animals and the community. At OnderLaw, we fully endorse their efforts and implore everyone to join this movement. Knowledge is the first step towards prevention, so equip yourself and your community with it. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, contact OnderLaw today for your free, no-obligation consultation.