What Causes Dogs To Attack?

While dogs may be considered our best friends, they are animals nonetheless and have animal instincts. Unfortunately, those instincts can cause a dog to lash out and bite. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that nearly 4.7 million people are bitten or attacked by dogs annually in America, and that nearly 800,000 of those dog attack victims require medical care.

Children are especially vulnerable to dog attacks. Regrettably they account for nearly half of the 4.7 million attacks annually. 50% of dog attacks involve children under the age of 12. Surprisingly, two-thirds of these attacks happen on or near the victim’s property, and most of the victims know the dogs that cause injury before the attack.

The Humane Society estimates that in the worst of circumstances, 10 to 20 people die from dog attacks in the United States every year. However in 2010, there were 33 fatal dog attacks, and nearly 79% of those attacks were committed by pit bulls and rottweilers. 73% of those victims were attacked by family pets.

While some dog breeds, such as German shepards, pit bulls and rottweilers are more notorious for their aggressiveness, any breed or size of dog can be the perpetrator of an attack.

A dog may attack if it feels the need to protect an owner or a loved possession. Dogs are inherently territorial, and may also attack if they feel an owner or possession is threatened. While that can be a typical provocation, a dog may attack for many different reasons. A fearful dog may attack someone if the animal misinterprets body language and becomes scared or threatened. A dog may attack if it is hungry or if it is agitated due to neglect. Small children may tug on a dog’s tail or ears, which may also cause the dog to attack. And unfortunately, some owners intentionally train their dogs to be aggressive. Some owners abuse their dogs and thereby train their dogs for fighting. While these examples of poor ownership can increase the risk of a dog attack, it is possible for any well-trained dog to attack without provocation. It is important to be careful and aware of a dog’s behavior in advance to reduce your chances of attack.

If a dog does attack, the injuries can potentially be very serious. Physical injuries can include scrapes, scratches, bites or broken bones if victims are jumped on, chased or knocked down by a dog. These injuries can lead to permanent scars, disability, infection and even wrongful death. They also can change the life of the victim and their families forever. In addition to physical trauma, victims of dog attacks often suffer severe emotional trauma as well. Severe emotional trauma can include post-traumatic stress disorder, which can be a lasting psychological injury.

Dog bites are serious, and can cause serious injuries. If a dog has bitten you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call our expert Massachusetts dog bite attorney specialists today at 617-787-3700 or email us at info@gilhoylaw.com. In order to protect all of your rights, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney right away with experience and skill in handling dog attack and dog bite cases. Our experienced attorneys have been handling dog attack cases for many years and are highly knowledgeable about Massachusetts law governing animal attacks of all types. 

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