Dog Bite - Is It My Turn?

Last weekend I was walking along the shore of Lake Michigan enjoying the pristine dunes and the crashing waves when I came upon a woman sitting on a towel with her trusty dog by her side. The dog initially wagged its tail and looked excited for a new visitor then he started barking and I even heard a growl. The woman was on the phone and didn't do much to calm her dog at first but then she got him under control. I continued on my way walking by her, never changing my gait and really not thinking much about it.

On my return trip past the same woman, the dog again barked and growled. The owner stayed in control of the dog initially and apologized for the barking but let him go after apologizing. When I exchanged pleasantries with the woman, the dog seemingly became more agitated and lunged toward me while barking. Fortunately, the dog stopped charging on his own. As before, I continued to walk in a relaxed manner during the entire exchange, never breaking my stride. I also turned my head away from the dog to seem less threatening. I thought the dog may be protecting his owner and would view my stopping to talk as a sign of aggression.

As I continued to walk away from the woman and her dog, casting furtive glances back to make sure the dog was not pursuing, I felt very lucky that the dog stopped when it did. When the dog lunged, I truly thought it was going to bite, that I was going to become one of the nearly 5 million people bitten each year. It was a good size dog so it very likely could have done some serious damage requiring at least an E.R. visit, at worst surgery. Fortunately, I know the steps to take to try and make the owner accountable for the actions of her dog and to try to ensure that my medical bills are paid. If you are bitten by a dog, do you know what to do? Call us at Freedman & Freedman for the answers.