April 7-13 Is Dog Bite Prevention Week!

According to The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), dogs bite more than 4.5 million people each year. Most dog bite victims are unfortunately senior citizens and children, but surprisingly to some, mail carriers are also frequently bitten by dogs.

In fact, just last month, a video of a dog attacking a mailman in Detroit went viral on Oneil Colley's Facebook page. In just 4 hours, the video was shared 60,000 times and was commented on 22,000 times! The Detroit Free Press described the 6-minute video as follows: “The video, apparently shot from inside a vehicle, shows a dog biting and pulling on the foot and ankle area of the postal carrier. Several people try to intervene and beat the dog with various objects, including a broom, a trash receptacle and what appears to be metal tools in an effort to stop the attack. The dog lets go of the carrier off-screen. A man gets a leash on it and starts to walk away, trying to keep the dog at a distance, but the dog charges toward him. He drops the leash. The animal at one point collapses, apparently injured. The video ends with the dog running after another person.”

Even with several people attempting to stop the assault, the dog still won the fight. While it’s not known why the dog attacked the mailman, it’s likely that the dog felt threatened and attacked in order to defend itself. The AVMA warns people against engaging in risky situations with dogs so that people can stay clear of dog bite injuries. And since this week, April, 7-13 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, people should learn about what some of these risky dog bite situations are and how to avoid them.

Risky Dog Bite Situations To Avoid

Avoid petting a dog in these scenarios:

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  • If the dog is with its owner but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog.

  • If the dog is on the other side of the fence – don't reach through or over a fence to pet a dog.

  • If a dog is sleeping or eating.

  • If a dog is sick or injured.

  • If a dog is playing with a toy.

  • If a dog is growling or barking.

  • If a dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone.

Even the cutest, fluffiest, marshmallow-come-to-life dogs pack a mean bite when they feel threatened. Mail carriers have to deliver mail to every address and can’t always avoid running into dogs. However, the average citizen should keep their eyes open when they see a dog and should remember how to avoid risky dog bite situations. The American Veterinary Medical Association encourages individuals to use their hashtag, #preventdogbites to share dog bite prevention information on social media.

Dog bites are painful. Not only do they cause physical pain, but dog bite injuries can rack up ER and medical bills and legal fees. The dog bite lawyers at The Michigan Law Firm, PC fight to help victims of dog bite injuries identify and receive compensation for their attack. Please call us at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with a dog bite attorney.

How To Handle A Dog Bite!

Today is National Pet Day! So pet lovers will be spending the day cuddling their cats, feeding lettuce to their turtle, watching TV with their gold fish, and most commonly, head head to the park with their dogs! Dogs are man’s best friend, which is proven by the fact that according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMA), there are about 70 million dogs living in U.S. households. Since this is such a large number of dogs, it’s not hard to believe that there must also be a large number of dog bites in the US. In fact, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs every year, and 1 in 5 people require medical attention after being bitten. As The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog informed readers the other day, family dogs and stray dogs are equally likely to attack, if provoked.

Detroit Dog Bite Lawyer

However, just because a person doesn’t provoke a dog doesn’t mean that a dog won't approach the person. Let’s say you’re hanging out in your backyard all by yourself, when all of a sudden a huge, growling dog jumps over the fence and into your yard. You didn’t invite it in! The dog didn’t ring the doorbell and bring you a casserole! You don’t want to make a sudden move and anger the dog into attacking you and you don’t see the dog’s owner anywhere! Or may it’s a stray, it's mouth is foaming after all! You’re cornered with nowhere to go, so you slowly try to reach into your pocket for your phone, in order to call for help. But it’s too late! Your subtle movement was enough to threaten the dog and before you know it, you’re on your back, putting your arms up to defend your body from the 70 lb beast trying to maul you.  You kick out in self defense and manage to shove the dog off of you and you use the momentum to your advantage and run inside your house and lock the door. As you lean against the door, catching your breath after Cujo's attack, a searing pain rips through your arm. You’ve been bitten.

So, what should a person who was involved in a dog attack accident do in the event that they experience a dog bite? Well, the AMVA gives the following post-dog bite advice:

What To Do After A Dog Bite

  • If the dog's owner is present, request proof of rabies vaccination, and get the owner's name and contact information.

  • Clean bite wound with soap and water as soon as possible.

  • Consult your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if it's after office hours.

  • Contact the dog's veterinarian to check vaccination records.

Detroit Dog Bite Lawyer

Even seemingly harmless nibbles that break the skin should be taken seriously to prevent a dog bite injury from worsening, especially if it’s a stray of a dog you don’t have the medical history of. And in the case of a larger or deeper bite, Dr. Amy Flowers, DVM says it is possible that there could be damage to muscles, tendons, or nerves. If the bite is deep enough dog bite victims may need stitches to close the wound. Dog bite injuries that are swollen, red, or warm to the touch indicate signs of infection and should be brought to a doctor’s attention. If the dog bite injury is serious enough, it may even require surgery. Dog bite surgery may sound like an exaggeration to some, but The American Society of Plastic Surgery reported that nearly 29,000 reconstructive procedures were performed in 2016, to repair dog bite injuries.

Everyone should also remember that not all dog bite injuries are caused by interactions with stray dogs. According to the AVMA, 36.5% of households have at least 1 dog, and people with 2 dogs in the household are more likely to be bitten. Even if a dog is your best friend and very well trained, dogs are still animals and they can still bite, in certain situations. While the AMVA’s tips on how to prevent dog bites are useful to avoid facing a dog bite injury, sometimes dog attacks can’t be avoided. Therefore it’s best to have the knowledge of how to treat a dog bite in your pocket. 

With over 70 million dogs in the United States, there is a high chance of people getting into dog bite accidents. Medical expenses aren’t the only cost rising out of a dog bite, since according to the AMVA, dog bites accounted for one third of homeowners liability claims, in the last year! If you have been bitten by a dog and are unsure what the next legal step is, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC. Call 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation to personally meet with a dog bite attorney.

How To Avoid A Dog Attack!

Detroit Dog Bite Lawyer

From cute and fluffy Cockapoos to majestic and athletic German Shepherds, it’s tough to resist the urge to grab hold of a dog and smother it in kisses and hugs. Even the most stoic and stone-hearted people break into a smile when they pass a happy, tail-wagging golden retriever. It’s a fact that dogs bring joy to humans but man’s best friend can turn from cuddly to cutthroat in the blink of an eye, if they feel threatened. 

Proving that domesticated dogs are still animals is the story of a 7-year-old girl in Highland Township, Michigan, who was attacked by dogs her parents had recently acquired from an animal shelter. The Detroit Free Press reported that the girl opened the gate to a dog pen containing 7 dogs, when 2 of the dogs attacked her and began biting at her neck and head. Her 6-year-old brother saw the dog attack and ran to get their mother, who wrestled the dogs away, but received a deep bite on her arm in the process. The girl’s worst dog bite injuries were to her neck and trachea. She was listed as in critical, but stable condition and thankfully recovered from her injuries

This dog bite story shouldn’t come as a surprise since, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), children are the most common victims of dog bites. More than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs every year, and at least half of those bitten are children. This is most likely because children don’t realize the possible dangers of dogs. They only see an adorable puppy and play toy, not realizing that care should be taken while dealing with dogs. 

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National Dog Bite Prevention Week is always on the second week of April, which is April 8 - 14 for 2018. The purpose of this week’s spotlight is to help people realize how serious dog bite injuries can be. It’s important to remember that any dog can bite, from big to small and young to old. Before approaching any dog, the AVMA recommends that people pay attention to the behavior of the dog before engaging. The dog may not be friendly towards strangers or might be in distress and see the person as a threat, and feel the need to defend itself by attacking.

One way to help prevent a dog bite injury is to recognize risky dog attack situations. What many people don’t realize is that dog bites aren’t just caused by interacting with stray dogs, but also with dogs people are familiar with. People feel that because they have previously interacted with a dog, that there is no danger of a serious dog bite injury. But even the family dog may attack if it feels threatened. 

Another mistake people make, is believing that a dog will act the same way every time. There are several reasons why a dog could act out, even if the dog hasn’t exhibited behavioral problems in the past. The more uncomfortable the dog feels, the more likely the risk of a dog attack and dog bite injuries. It’s also a safer idea to ask for the owner’s permission before engaging with a dog, and to allow the dog, not the human, to decide if it wants to interact with someone, even if a person has had pleasant interactions with that dog before. 

If a dog is acting oddly or aggressively, the AVMA recommends breaking eye contact, calmly moving away from the dog, and not making any sudden movements or loud or high-pitched sounds, which could escalate the dog’s behavior. The AVMA includes several other tips on how to avoid dog attack accidents, which are listed below:

How To Avoid Dog Attack Accidents

It's important to know how to avoid escalating risky situations and to understand when you should and should not interact with dogs. You should avoid petting a dog in these scenarios:

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  1. If the dog is not with its owner.
  2. If the dog is with its owner but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog.
  3. If the dog is on the other side of a fence – don't reach through or over a fence to pet a dog.
  4. If a dog is sleeping or eating.
  5. If a dog is sick or injured.
  6. If a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of her puppies and anxious about your presence.
  7. If a dog is playing with a toy. 
  8. If a dog is growling or barking.
  9. If a dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone.

Dog bite accidents sound dangerous and that’s because they are. 1 in 5 people require medical attention after being bitten by a dog. Recognizing odd animal behavior is a good way to avoid a dog attack situation. By following the dog bite prevention tips above, people may be able to avoid costly emergency room medical bills and having to deal with a dog bite lawyer.

Dog bites are all too common. Even though dogs were been domesticated nearly 15,000 years ago, these animals still survive by using their base instincts. As such, even the family dog, Fluffy, may attack if provoked. And dog bites can cause serious physical injuries and even post traumatic stress disorder, which can cause the medical bills to pile up. On top of medical expenses, dog bites also bring on legal confusion as to fault and negligence. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a dog bite accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.464.3476 for a free consultation with a dog bite attorney.

Dog Bites Owner Over Christmas Sweater

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Last holiday season, a pit bill mix named Scarface living in Tampa, Florida attacked his owner after she tried to put a Christmas sweater on him. As the owner, Brenda Guerrero, went outside and tried to place Scarface in the sweater, he turned and retaliated by biting down on Guerrero’s arm, according to AOL News. Hearing the commotion, Guerrero’s husband, Ismael, came outside and tried to help by pulling the dog free from his wife, but was also attacked. Guerrero's son, Antoine Harris, eventually stopped the attack by stabbing the pit bull mix in the head and neck. The pit bull mix also attacked Harris before the three victims were able to flee inside the house for safety. 

When the Tampa Police and the Hillsborough County Animal Control arrived, they attempted to tranquilize Scarface, but were unsuccessful. The dog was able to run into the house where two small children were also residing. During this time, authorities switched tactics by using a bean bag gun and a taser to subdue the dog, and then captured him with a catch-pole. Authorities told the Tampa Bay Times that both Guerrero and her husband were rushed to the hospital where Guerrero’s injuries were believed to be serious but not life threatening. 

Scarface was euthanized sometime on January 3, 2017, Fox 6 news reports. Kara Walker, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County, said that the pit bull mix was put down due to posing a safety risk to the public and because of the severe stab wounds sustained by Harris during the attack. 

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Pit bills like Scarface contributed to 71% of total recorded dog bites in 2016. Dogsbite.org also says family dogs inflicted 45% of dog bite fatalities in 2016. While dogs have a reputation of being man's best friend, they may sometimes attack for reasons we are not able to comprehend. It is important to treat our pets with respect and monitor their behavior in an effort to prevent dog bite accidents. This means, that if a dog isn't comfortable wearing clothing, don't force it to! The holiday season is a time for joyous celebration with family, friends, and pets. Don't spend yours in the ER because Fluffy wouldn't wear his jingle bells.  

Dog owners have to train and familiarize their pet with wearing animal clothing before forcing outfits on them. If owners are not careful, there is the possibility that animals will become agitated and lash out - much like the Scarface the pit bull mix. Don't ruin your holiday season by making your pet match the family for the Christmas card. If you or someone you know has been injured in a dog bite accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Cat Attacks vs Dog Bites

Michigan Animal Attack Lawyer

Everyone has heard about the dangers of dog bites and have seen ads and articles about how to avoid dog attacks. While dog attacks are a serious concern, there aren't nearly enough public service announcements about cat aggression? Although, cats attacking people have become a viral video obsession, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), cat aggression should be taken just as seriously as dog bites, if not more. 

Don't believe that cats attacks are dangerous? Just watch the video posted on the Michigan Law Firm's blog yesterday. The scratches and bites that Mr. Woodward received from his pet cat-not a wild cat-were serious enough to require stitches.

In fact, the ASPCA says that cat bites and scratches can inflict severe lacerations and can become easily infected. They advise people to be aware of the subtle body language that cat's normally display and help identify the differences between offensive and defensive postures. 

Offensive Cat Postures

If a cat takes one of these postures, it's a good idea to keep distance from it as it may be gearing up to attack.

Source: GIPHY, Disney's  The Aristocats

Source: GIPHY, Disney's The Aristocats

  • A straight-legged upright stance.
  • Stiffened rear legs, with the rear end raised and the back sloped downward toward the head.
  • Tail is stiff and lowered or held straight down to the ground.
  • Direct stare.
  • Upright ears, rotated slightly forward.
  • Raised hackles including fur on the tail.
  • Small (constricted) pupils.
  • Directly facing opponent, possibly moving toward him.
  • Growling, howling, or yowling.

Defensive Cat Postures

If a cat assumes one of these postures, it may be feeling threatened or scared. Again, it's best to leave cats alone when they are displaying these behaviors.

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  • Crouching.
  • Tucked head.
  • Tail curved around the body and tucked in.
  • Eyes wide open with large, dialated pupils.  
  • Ears flattened sideways or backward on the head.
  • Raised hackles.
  • In an anxious cat, whiskers might be retracted. In a fearful cat, whiskers might fan out and forward to assess distance between them self and danger.
  • Not facing the opponent, usually turned sideways.
  • Open-mouthed hissing or spitting.
  • Might deliver quick strikes with front paws, claws out.

Other Aggressive Cat Signs

Be mindful of a potential turn in behavior if a cat starts to do one or more of the following.

  • Swatting, striking with paws.
  • Biting.
  • Fighting.
  • Growling, shrieking.
  • Scratching.
  • Cats will roll on to their side or back while exposing their teeth and claws in preparation for an all out attack.

Aggressive Behavior Triggers

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These aggressive cat behaviors can be triggered if a cat feels the need to protect its territory, feels fear, if the cat is displaying maternal instincts, or even if a human plays too roughly, tries to pick them up, or pets them in a way they do not like. The ASPCA warns those who are in the vicinity of a possibly aggressive cat to be mindful that cats can be also triggered by the smell of another cat(s), hearing high pitch noises, and if they are being antagonized by a dog or other pets. Additional triggers that may lead to offensive behaviors is if major changes occur within the cat’s home and when someone intervenes in a cat fight. 

If such behaviors start to arise or are already apparent within a cat, it is advised that a professional is called to best determine the next steps to take with the feline. Treatments are offered and a record establishing the behavior patterns of the cat should always be kept on file. And of course in the case of a cat attack, especially if the cat is not domesticated, humans should immediately seek medical treatment.

Cats are just as likely as dogs to viciously attack their owners as well as children and pets when they become agitated. Though the attacks occur seemingly for no reason and the injuries may seem negligible, cat attacks can cause the victim serious harm. If you or someone you know has been injured by a rabid animal or someone's pet, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Call us at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation. We can help you.

Video: Pet Cat Attacks Owner

Though we're coming up on Memorial Day, The Michigan Law Firm wants to bring your attention to an animal attack that happened last Christmas. 

When you read the words animal attack, we're sure the first thing that came to mind was a massive beast mauling an innocent human. Or perhaps you pictured a rabid pit bull with a foaming mouth that you've seen in your neighborhood. What you probably didn't think of was a domesticated, fluffy, house cat, ripping into its owners neck. That's exactly what happened to Andrew Woodward.

The euphoric excitement that Mr. Woodward displayed when he unwrapped his gift to find a PlayStation 4, quickly morphed into pain and shock when his cat launched itself at Mr. Woodward's head. While the attack seems like it occurred for no reason, the video shows that the cat, named Magneto, was initially terrified by Mr. Woodward's screams of elation and excited movements. Since Magneto was startled by the sudden commotion, it could be possible that he thought he was under attack and retaliated. 

Whatever the reason for Magneto's attack, Mr. Woodward's Christmas concluded with a trip to the doctor and several stitches.

Source: Inside Edition

Animal attacks are a dangerous occurrence that can result in serious and sometimes life threatening injuries. Even the smallest, cutest, seemingly harmless animals can turn vicious if they think someone poses a treat to them. As seen in this video, even our own pets can turn on us when startled. As such, it's wise to proceed with caution and to be mindful of our actions when in the presence of any animal, in order to prevent animal attacks. Since we can't communicate with animals however, we can't ever completely know how to prevent attacks. If you or someone you know has suffered a dog bite or cat attack, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our firm works with victims of animal attacks to identify and recover any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.