South Carolina dog attack illustrates risk of work injuries

A mail carrier was attacked by a pit bull while delivering mail to its owner in Gaffney late last week, Fox Carolina reports. The owner was moving the dog from the front yard to the back to prevent the dog from having access to the mail carrier. Later, she told police she was moving the dog because it has an aggressive history.

During the transition, the owner lost control of the dog. The dog then pounced upon the 52-year-old, female U.S. postal worker, breaking several of her bones. The owner says she can no longer care for the dog and plans to have it euthanized.
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The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that as of 2007, more than 72 million Americans – or 37 percent of U.S. population – has at least one dog living in the home. With that in mind, our injury attorneys in Charlotte know that on average, 16 people are killed each year in the U.S. by dog attacks.

Whether a dog is roaming free on a public street, or chasing a ball across their own backyard. Whether that pet is at home, on a walk or at a park, or chilling at their master’s office. Regardless of time, place or circumstance, it is the responsibility of pet owners to protect the public from an aggressive pet.

And if you are one of the million of delivery and service workers whose job requires regular access to people’s homes and yards; both the pet owner and your employer share responsibility (as do you of course) to make any encounter with a pet a safe one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year; 20 percent of them – or 885,000 – require medical attention. In 2006 alone, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery due to a dog bite. Children aged 5 to 9 are most likely to be bitten (generally in the face and neck areas), followed by adult males and pet owners.

For parents who wish to teach children how to behave around strange dogs, the American Kennel Club recommends sharing the following safety tips.

BEFORE YOU PET A DOG:
~ Always ask permission of the owner first before touching a dog. Approach them s-l-o-w-l-y. (Sudden movements can startle even the most otherwise friendly pups, triggering a defensive posture.)
~ NEVER approach an unleashed, unattended dog.
~ Once you have been granted permission to pet a dog, extend a closed fist (back of the hand upward) slowly toward the nose of the dog. Allow him or her to sniff your hand.
~ After allowing the dog to sniff your scent, gently stroke or pet the dog under the chin or chest.

IF A LOOSE DOG APPROACHES YOU:
~ Stand still and keep quiet. (Screaming may agitate a dog.)
~ Cross your arms over your chest.
~ Avert your eyes. (Dogs take direct eye contact as a challenge.)
~ DON’T run! Walk away.
~ If a dog knocks you down, roll into a ball and use your arms to cover and protect your face and neck.

HOW TO TELL IF A DOG IS FRIENDLY:
~ Hair will be flat or smooth along the spine.
~ Tail will be down or wagging.
~ It may appear to be “smiling”(mouth and lips open, tongue may be out).

HOW TO TELL IF A DOG IS UNFRIENDLY:
~ Expression is a snarl (lips scrunched back, teeth bared).
~ Hair along the spine will be raised.
~ Ears may be pinned back.
~ Dog may growl, snarl or bark.
~ Dog may appear to be prepared to lunge or pounce.

The Lee & Smith workers’ compensation attorneys in Anderson, Winston-Salem and Burlington know that being involved in a serious or fatal Carolina accident, or losing a loved one to a serious or fatal injury accident, can be among the most challenging times in your life. If you or someone you love has been involved in a serious accident, call us at 1-800-887-1965 or email our law offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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