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Dog bite prevention tips for dog owners

Even the nicest and smallest dogs can bite hard and cause serious injuries. Those bites can also get infected or leave disfiguring scars. Although you might think it was your dog's fault, or the fault of the person bit, in these situations, a New York court might think differently and hold you accountable for the dog bite victim's injuries.

Every New York resident has a responsibility to prevent dog bites and could be legally responsible if they fail to do so. Here are some dog bite prevention tips:

-- Spay and/or neuter your dog: Spaying or neutering a dog will calm its more aggressive tendencies. Dogs are always much less likely to bite other people and other dogs. Another benefit is that spayed or neutered dogs tend to live longer.

-- Train your dog: If your dog can obey the simplest of orders, like when you say, "stay," "no" or "sit," then it will interact better with people. A trained dog is more likely to respect humans and less likely to bite them.

-- Take care around other pets and people: If you're out with your dog, and other dogs, animals or people are present, it is important to watch your dog's behavior. If your dog becomes anxious, afraid or nervous, it's time to remove it from the situation.

-- Never leave your dog unattended or unleashed in a public place: If your dog is running free, or free to interact with other people without your supervision, you don't have a chance to intervene to stop a bite attack.

New Yorkers who have been hurt by a dog, or who have a family member who was hurt by a dog, could have the ability to seek financial restitution for their injuries. A lawyer can help you evaluate the strength and viability of such a lawsuit.

Source: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, "Be a Responsible Dog Owner: Protect Your Pet, Yourself and Others," accessed Jan. 05, 2017

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