We’ve all heard the statement, “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth.” Many veterinarians will say the statement is an example of comparing apples and oranges. We have bacteria in our mouths — so do dogs. According to most health experts, it’s a completely different mix of germs.
Infections Are Quite Common
However, consider the following question: if dogs’ mouths are so clean, why does The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that at least 20 percent of all dog bites result in infection for the bite victim?
Other Significant Health Issues Related to Bites
We can love dogs, but there is no denying that a dog bite is a serious issue. Aside from possible infections, such as tetanus, there are other health considerations, such as:
- The potential for rabies: According to the CDC, more than 16,000 people in the U.S. receive precautionary rabies vaccinations each year. Why so many? One important reason is that no symptoms may be present early on. Once the rabies virus becomes a full-blown infection, it is almost always fatal.
- Damage to nerves and underlying tissues, such as muscles and tendons: Nerve damage is most usually seen as general numbness in the affected extremity. Where the attack has been particularly vicious, surgery may be required to repair the tissues.
- Unsightly scars after the healing period has been completed: Many dog bites, particularly those involving children, are to the neck and facial areas. Bites can result in significant scarification after healing. The scars can be so serious that plastic surgery is required.
- Fatalities: While fatal attacks are rare, at least 35 people died from dog attacks in 2015.
Disproportionate Number of Victims Are Children
Another particularly problematic is the fact that fully half of all dog attacks involve children under the age of eleven. Unfortunately, most young children (as well as many adults) don’t understand the “psychology” of the dog. All dogs are at least somewhat territorial. They protect their possessions, food, and resting places and may lash out when it feels threatened.
New York Law Allows Recovery of Damages For Many Dog Bites
In many dog bite situations, New York law allows the victim to recover money damages from the owner of the animal. In addition to recovering the cost of medical treatment and lost time from work, if the victim is an adult, the monetary damages can also include compensation for pain and suffering. The key to recovery in a dog bite case is to retain the assistance of a strong, aggressive, respected attorney. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has the experience and resources to help. If you or a loved one have been injured due to a dog bite or dog attack in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Washington, Columbia, Fulton or a surrounding Upstate NY County, we invite you to contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options.
With offices in Albany, Troy, Saratoga Springs, and Schenectady, we have been representing clients for more than 125 years. Call us now at (518) 274–5820 or complete the online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.