Each day, approximately 1000 Americans visit the emergency room for dog bite injuries. While dogs are still considered to be “man’s best friend,” the fact is that dogs can cause serious harm to humans. Research has shown that certain dog breeds may be more dangerous than others. Some of the most popular dog breeds in Illinois are also among some of the most dangerous. CBS News recently ranked some of the most popular household dog breeds: German Shepherds, Bulldogs, Boxers, Dobermans, Poodles, Rottweilers, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Siberian Huskies, Schnauzers, and Great Danes are among the top twenty most popular breeds. In Chicago particularly, German Shepherds and Bulldogs are among the top five most popular household breeds.
These breeds are also among the most dangerous dog breeds, including Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Huskies, Great Danes, Schnauzers, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, and Bulldogs. A research study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) also lists these same breeds and cross-breed mixes among the most commonly involved in dog bite-related human fatalities. The study points out that children, usually between the ages of 5 and 9 years old, are most often the victims of dog bites, with the majority of dog attacks occurring in the dog owner’s home.
The seriousness and pervasiveness of dog bites and dog attacks in DuPage County and the surrounding Chicago area is of growing concern. In response to the recent increase in dog bites, the DuPage County Animal Control department has offered helpful advice to new and current pet owners on caring for their animals. Its website provides information on how to train dogs to reduce or eliminate aggressive behavior. Many dog attacks are caused, in part, by poor training by the dog’s owner. Regardless of breed, when a dog is not taught passive and peaceful behavior, it is more likely to attack a human. However, dogs that are considered among the more dangerous breeds must be trained more carefully to avoid aggression, as these dogs, which include cross-breed mixes, may be more prone to attack than other types of dogs.
Nonetheless, certain safety precautions should be taken for every dog, regardless of breed. The Naperville Animal Hospital advises DuPage County residents to use caution when approaching any unfamiliar dog, using the helpful acronym, “W.A.I.T:” Wait and see if the dog looks friendly; Ask the owner for permission to pet the dog; Invite the dog to come and sniff you; Touch the dog gently along the back, while avoiding getting too close to the head or tail. All dog owners in DuPage County should take steps train their dog to be friendly and avoid aggressive behavior. Dog owners should be sure to treat all dogs kindly, never allowing a dog to bite or be aggressive toward another human or animal.
Sometimes, despite reasonable efforts to be careful and avoid provoking a dog, a dog may attack anyway. Anyone bitten or attacked by a dog should go directly to the emergency room and receive proper medical treatment. A dog bite victim should always contact the local county animal control to file a report. If you or someone you know has been attacked by a dog, contact DuPage County dog bite lawyers at John J. Malm & Associates to learn more about how you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries.