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Protect children from dog and animal bites

Over a third of families in Maryland and around the country have a dog as a family pet, as reported by the nation's Veterinary Medical Association. This means that over 40 million households are taking care of dogs and, in many cases, bringing them inside their homes. Experts stress that owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility, far beyond feeding, grooming and providing medical care. Since dog and animal bites are common and can cause serious injury, it is also important for owners to keep those around their pets safe.

It is critical that children who are helping take care of dogs learn the proper ways to treat animals. Ultimately, no matter how familiar a pet may be, a dog is capable of biting someone. A seemingly harmless situation can quickly become a dangerous one when an animal is involved.

Animal experts recommend several steps to assure safety when children or others are around dogs. It is very important to act calmly around dogs. If someone is loud or excitable, dogs tend to mimic that temperament and could behave erratically. Children should be advised to not attempt to hug or kiss a dog, despite that being a natural reaction for many.

It is also not wise to sneak up on a dog; again, startling one could cause a dog to attack. The old adage, "let sleeping dogs lie," is actually sound advice -- one should never bother a dog that is asleep or eating. Always ask a dog's owner before petting an unfamiliar dog or allowing a child to do so.

Dog and animal bites can be catastrophic and cause severe injury or trauma to victims. Owners are responsible for the behavior of their dogs and may be held accountable if their animal has bitten someone. Contact a Maryland personal injury attorney for assistance in filing a lawsuit against a dog owner to seek compensation for medical treatment, ongoing therapy costs or other monetary damages.

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