It may be the oldest joke in the world: man does something foolish and a dog bites the man for it. That joke, in its million different forms, has gotten laughs for thousands of years.
The joke may be comedy gold, but the reality isn’t nearly so funny. Dog bites are actually quite serious. They can lead to all sorts of injuries and infections.
Consider a few of these potential injuries that I found on the Goings Law Firm, LLC dog bite page:
Lacerations: Cuts from the teeth that can lead to bleeding, and as mentioned above, infection.
Puncture wounds: Literally, holes in the flesh from the bite.
Broken bones: Bites aren’t always skin deep, they can be hard enough to break bones. This is especially common when dogs bite children.
Scarring/disfigurement: An attack by a dog can lead to scars that last a lifetime. Imagine those who are bitten on the face or in other very visible areas. The results can be traumatic.
Nerve Damage: Deep bites can tear up nerves that may never grow back. Losing the ability to feel on part of the leg, arm, or hand could seriously affect someone’s quality of life going forward.
Psychological and emotional trauma: As mentioned above with scarring, many of these injuries can come with a psychological price. In fact, the attack doesn’t have to even be as severe as any of these other injuries to create a permanent phobia of dogs. Imagine a child attacked by a dog. Even if the worst that happens in a bruise, that child may grow into an adult who will never be able to enjoy the company of a dog.
Wrongful Death: Worst of all, a very severe dog attack can lead to the death of the person. Dogs are strong, powerful animals and some (like guard dogs) are trained to attack and cause damage to those they encounter that they don’t know. While the idea that a burglar might die from a dog attack might not elicit sympathy from some, keep in mind that many dog bite victims are innocent and were simply in the wrong place.
With that list, it’s clear that there is a major responsibility for all dog owners to keep their dogs in a place where they can’t harm others. Even dogs that are seemingly docile may turn aggressive in the right circumstances. Dogs should also be trained to know basic commands so that they can be more easily controlled if a potential attack situation develops.
Dogs are man’s best friend, that won’t ever change, but that friendship comes with some responsibilities, to the dog, to the owner, and to others around. Dogs can be very friendly, but they are still animals. Everything possible should be done to make sure they remain friendly and docile and in situations where no one—not the dog, not the owner, and not others—are ever hurt. Because the results when an attack does happen, clearly, can be pretty awful.