A four-year-old Texas boy died just a week ago after being mauled by his family’s dogs. The young boy’s mother left him in an enclosed trampoline with four dogs in the backyard. While the child was alone, the animals- three German shepherd-mixes and one pit bull- attacked and killed him. A neighbor found the little boy dead in the backyard, having been mauled to death. The four dogs were euthanized the same day as the deadly dog bite attack. According to neighbors, the family had at least 10 dogs, mostly aggressive breeds. The remainder of the dogs have been removed from the home. This young child’s death is a tragedy, and this dog bite fatality preventable, according to the dog bite attorneys at the Providence, RI personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law. Attorney David Tapalian is a dog bite lawyer well versed in Massachusetts dog bite laws and Rhode Island dog bite laws. Read our previous blog on differences between the RI Dog Bite Laws and MA Dog Bite Laws. Read on to find out statistics on dog bite fatalities and ways to protect yourself and your family from dog attacks.
2016 U.S. Dog Bite Statistics
In 2016, there were 31 fatalities in the United States due to dog attacks. Although the pit bull breed accounts for about 6% of the U.S. dog population, the breed is responsible for 71% (22) of these deaths, according to 2016 dog bite statistics. Rottweilers are listed as the second most lethal dog breed. Pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 77% of dog bite fatalities in the U.S. for 2016. Over the 12 year period of 2005 to 2016, both breeds of dog accounted for about 76% of all dog bite deaths in the United States. Of the 2016 deaths, almost half involved family dogs. Data shows that 42% of the casualties were to children under the age of 9, the youngest being a 3-day-old baby boy. The personal injury leading to these tragic deaths may include severe bite and perforation injuries to the head, neck, and throat, brain injury, and puncture wounds on other parts of the body.
Massachusetts Dog Bite Law
Massachusetts has one of the best laws for protecting the victims of dog bites, regardless of the type of breed. Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state so a dog owner or keeper in MA is “strictly liable” for personal injury or property damage caused by their dog unless the victim was trespassing, teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog. Children under the age of 7 are presumed to have done none of these things, according to MA dog bite laws. The burden of proof is upon the defendant in such a case. If you or your child has sustained injuries from a dog bite, don’t suffer without getting help. Contact an experienced Massachusetts dog bite injury attorney right away to find out your rights and what type of compensation you may be entitled to for damages. David Tapalian is an experienced Seekonk personal injury lawyer who has helped countless victims of dog bites get compensated for their injuries. Remember, there is a 3-year statute of limitations for your personal injury claim. This means a victim has 3 years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit.
How to Protect yourself from a Dog Attack
Dogsbite.org, a public education website, offers suggestions on how to avoid a dog attack and ways to protect yourself if you feel a dog is going to attack. To view the full list of guidelines, visit their website here. Below is an excerpt:
- Never leave a child alone with any dog breed
- Do not pet a dog without first letting the dog see you
- Do not lean your face close to a dog
- Do not tease a dog, especially if it is chained
- Do not startle a sleeping dog
- Do not bother a dog that is eating
- Do not disturb a dog that is caring for puppies
- Do not turn your back on a dog and run away
- Do not approach a vehicle with a dog inside (or in the bed of a truck)
If you think you may be attacked by a dog:
- Resist the impulse to scream and run away
- Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog
- Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until the dog is out of sight
- If the dog does attack, “feed” him your jacket, purse, bicycle, or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog
- If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around
What to do if You Have Been Bitten by a Dog
If you or a loved one has been bitten or hurt by a dog, and sustained injuries, contact a personal injury attorney who has experience with dog bite injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, physical therapy, reconstructive surgery, and other dog bite related expenses. David Tapalian is an experienced Seekonk dog bite accident attorney and can help fight for your rights and get compensation for your damages. Tapalian Law has offices conveniently located in Seekonk, MA and Providence, RI. We have helped clients all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts get the compensation they deserve for their dog bites and personal injuries. For a free no-fee consultation, call Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000 for a free case evaluation. Visit our website for more information about dog bite injuries and what the personal injury attorneys at Tapalian Law can do to help you.