Do you love your dog? Is your cat your favorite “person” to come home to? If you live in the Tampa area, you’ll be glad to know that out of the 100 largest cities in the US, Tampa ranked #2 this year for being most pet-friendly! This is no surprise, as there are HUGE numbers of pet owners. Just take a walk through Hyde Park Village (almost all of the businesses are dog friendly!) or enjoy an afternoon at Hair of the Dog Park and Bar in Seminole Heights and you’ll see people enjoying shopping and dining with their furry friends in tow. Does a city with this many dogs come with its own unique set of risks though?

Unfortunately, yes.

Dogs make wonderful pets, but they can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially if not properly trained. You can’t be responsible for someone else’s pet, but you are responsible for yourself and your family. Do you know how to ward off an attack from a dog, or protect yourself from a serious bite? Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when you’re heading out on the town in a dog-friendly area, or in your own neighborhood:

  • Keep a few treats in your pocket! The way to anyone’s heart is with a good snack, right? Dogs are no different, and sometimes having a treat or two thrown their way is enough to make them forget that you were a threat and they’ll let you pass by without incident. Try to toss the treat away from you, back toward the dog’s home/where they came from to give you space to get by.
  • Carry a walking stick/cane with you when you know you’ll be in an area where dogs are likely to be off-leash and in your space. While acting aggressively toward an attacking dog won’t necessarily end the attack, having something to defend yourself can at least lessen the severity of the bite, and fend off the worst of the initial blows until you get yourself in a better defensive position.
  • Know how to respond. If you are being attacked, resist the urge to pull away, or worse, run away. Running only intensifies a dog’s prey drive. Instead, cross your arms in front of yourself, over your face/head area, bring your knees high, and curl into a ball. Move as little as possible, to encourage the dog to lose interest in you. If you are being hurt by the dog pulling at loose items around your neck/body (scarf, belt, purse strap, etc.) attempt to remove it and then resume your defensive position.
  • Wear a whistle around your neck. Having a whistle not only draws attention to you so people are more likely to come to your rescue, but it can also deter the dog. Dogs don’t like loud noises, and a shrill whistle could be enough to startle them into letting go.

Dog attacks, and the resulting injuries, are physically, emotionally, and mentally traumatic. If you or someone you love has been injured by the dog of another person, Brooks Law Group is here to help you work through it. We provide legal counsel for getting the help you need. We fight hard to make sure you get compensation you aid with treatment costs and recovery, and to get the justice you deserve following the event. Dog bite victims in the Tampa Bay area know to call us when the unexpected happens, because they can count on a FREE, no-obligation consultation and a team committed to providing personal, professional legal counsel. Call us to discuss your case!

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.