As we continue to get deeper and deeper into the summer, New York residents will likely come face to face with numerous pets over the course of the day. From people walking their dogs during errands to getting some fresh air and exercise in the park, it is no surprise that pet owners would rather be outside than cooped up inside four walls. Unfortunately, this increased exposure to animals can have devastating consequences.
While a dog attack might come as a shock, the animal will typically exhibit signs and signals that he or she should be avoided. When a pet owner fails to remove the animal from the situation, bystanders, children and other pets are at risk for injury. Generally speaking, there are two categories of aggressive behavior:
- Dominant aggression: Like people, dogs can have a dominant personality. This personality is exhibited through common behaviors including blocking a path, stopping eating when approached, inserting himself between the owner and other pet or person, and lunging at people. While these characteristics, taken separately, might not be an indicator of danger, recognizing multiple signs is key.
- Fear aggression: Conversely, a dog’s personality might be driven by defensive-aggression. The behavior of these animals might be more difficult to predict as they will often exhibit submissive body language until they “snap” and lash out. Submissive body language can include ears held back, avoiding making eye contact, lowering the head and body, and tucking the tail between its hind legs.
Depending on the size of the breed and the type of attack, an individual might suffer a wide range of injuries such as broken bones, torn flesh, punctures, lacerations and amputation. Additionally, due to bacteria in the animal’s mouth and the immediate environment, the bite can become infected leading to further damage. It is wise to recognize the signs of aggressive animal behavior and remove yourself from a dangerous situation.