According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are close to 78 million dogs owned by Americans, with nearly 40% of U.S. homes owning at least one dog as a pet. Dogs are touted as being “man’s best friend,” but sometimes, family pets can become aggressive and attack, leaving family members, visitors or neighbors with serious, life-threatening injuries.

WPBF.com reported in March that an 18-month-old West Palm Beach girl was the victim of an attack by her family’s dog. Apparently, the girl got too close to the dog’s food bowl, and the pit bull-German shepherd mix attacked the girl, biting her on her legs, chest and torso. The girl was airlifted to the hospital with serious injuries, including broken ribs and a punctured lung and bowel.

According to the story, a neighbor said she filed a report with Animal Care and Control after the dog attacked her dog in January. She said nothing was done. The grandmother of the girl said she warned her daughter, the owner of the dog, that the dog could be dangerous to the toddler.

Unfortunately, dog bites occur so frequently that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), among other medical organizations, sponsor National Dog Bite Prevention Week each year during May to educate the public about the potential risks involved with owning a dog. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that dogs bite 4.7 million people each year, and one in five of those bites results in injuries that require medical attention.

Fox 29, which serves Palm Beach and the South Florida area, reported during the 2011 Awareness Week that plastic surgeons that often treat dog attack victims see firsthand how distressing dog bite injuries can be to both the victims and their families. The ASPS reported that in the United States, almost 33,000 reconstructive procedures were performed on dog bite victims in 2010, increasing by 8 percent from 2009.

The CDC offers the following tips to prevent dog bite injuries:

  • Train and socialize your dog properly. Teach it submissive behaviors such as rolling over and how to give up food without growling.
  • Do not pet a dog without first letting it see and sniff you.
  • Avoid disturbing a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies.
  • Avoid playing aggressive games or wrestling with your dog.
  • Never, under any circumstances, leave infants or young children alone with a dog.

With children being the most susceptible to dog attacks, our Florida injury attorneys encourage you to teach your children the above tips and review them often. Also, if you are the parent of a young child and own a dog, ensure that your child is never left alone with the family pet.

Contact an Experienced Florida Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Today

If a dog has attacked you or a family member, it’s important to understand whether the dog’s owner should be held responsible for your injury. Talk to a caring Florida dog bite injury lawyer to understand your legal rights. I am attorney Philip DeBerard. I have more than three decades of experience helping Florida individuals and families recover from serious injuries caused by the negligence of others, including vicious dog attacks and dog bites.

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, concentrates on helping dog bite victims in Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, Stuart, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and Palm Beach. Call 1-800-299-8878 or fill out our online contact form.