Pitbull attacks (And dog attacks in general) can be a difficult topic to address. Dogs are such an integral part of our society and are often considered a member of the family. Yet every year 4.7 million people are victims of dog attacks in the United States, and routinely the pit bull is either #1 or #2 when it comes to breeds most responsible. This is a trend that isn't going away, and it is our responsibility to know how to defend ourselves, and how to pursue legal recourse.
Let's start off by talking about the idea of self defense against a pit bull. These animals are intimidating and scary when not trained properly, but if you follow a few solid guidelines you can greatly increase your ability to handle the situation.
Phase 1 - Common Sense and Avoidance
It might seem obvious after reading some of these tips, but they bear repeating just in case you find yourself in a 'this couldn't happen to me' mentality.
1. Know your location. What are your usual stomping grounds? When you take walks, are there any dogs on the route? Are there any pit bulls? If you are in unfamiliar territory, have you taken any precautions about the possibility of attack?
2. Assess dependents. Even if you do know your location, you need to gauge the probability of having someone along with you. Having an adult with you could be helpful during a pit bull attack, but having a small child or dog could be troublesome.
3. Know your physical abilities. Are you in great shape, able to actively defend yourself? Whether you are or not will greatly change how you need to prepare for the possibility of attack.
4. Plan a wide-berth strategy. If you walk by a house regularly that has a pit bull, or even just see one on the street, try to give it a wide berth. Dogs in general are very territorial and a simple act of crossing to the opposite side of the road can downplay their aggressive nature.
Phase 2 - De-escalation
Even with good planning incidences can be unavoidable. Here are some tips to turn a potentially bad situation into no situation at all.
1. Show confidence and hide fear. As much as we depend on verbal communication as humans, pit bulls detect just as much through your body tensions, odors, and mannerisms. If you tense up and emit a fearful 'scent', they will pick up on it and could even be encouraged by it. Be cool, natural, and in command.
2. Be mindful of your hands. When around a pit bull or other aggressive dog, avoid quick, large hand movements. Furthermore, if the dog is sniffing around your hands, hold them in a loose fist (this will take away easy nipping real estate).
3. Don't show your teeth. Even if you are trying to be nice and smiley, avoid barring your teeth. It's a subtle psychological thing, but can have a real effect.
4. Slowly back away. Do not turn and run. This is very important. The canine chase reflex is extremely dominant, especially for dogs that are trained to attack, like some pit bulls are.
5. Go dominant if passive confidence fails. You always want to try to be calm and non-confrontational at first. However, if the situation continues to go badly, try asserting yourself as a dominant figure. Shout common commands and become a stern persona.
Phase 3 - Self Defense
Unfortunately with pit bulls, psychology can only get you so far. These can be aggressive, unflinching animals and you may have to defend yourself. here are some good tactics.
1. Projectiles and Sprays. The first piece of advice is also the most commonly effective. Pepper sprays are easily carried and can be sprayed in the eyes of an attacking dog. Furthermore, although it is lethal, there is no disputing the effectiveness of using handguns. Just be mindful of the possible legal recourse against you - make sure you weren't trespassing on someone's property when using the weapon and that you are properly licensed.
2. Distancing tools. More common than pepper spray is something of a stick variety. By that I mean a cane, walking stick, umbrella, etc. These long objects can be used to thrust, swing, and distract the bite of a dog. Very valuable and easily carried.
3. Unarmed combat. It won't be pretty, but there are unarmed options for handling a pit bull. When striking the animal, aim for the nose, eyes, and ears. These are all very sensitive and could help to disorient the animal. On long snouted dogs you have the option of clamping the mouth shut with your hands, but that is a bit more difficult on pitbulls. If possible and necessary, dogs can be grappled from behind and put into a standard choke hold - one arm cinched tightly under the neck with the other compressing the lock inward. one final method of attack is grabbing the legs of the animal and pulling them apart abruptly, breaking the knees.
4. Nonessential bites. If things are happening too quickly for intelligent self defense, try to give the animal a non-essential bite. Give your non-dominant arm in the hopes of using your good arm to perform soft-spot striking.
5. Playing dead. If you feel you simply have no method of defending yourself against the animal, curl into the fetal position and play dead. Attempt to protect your vitals like your throat and hope the pit bull becomes uninterested in a non-combative prey.
Pit bull and dog attacks can be traumatizing and lethal. it's important to know that you aren't alone in trying to resolve the matter and seeking professional legal counsel is highly advised.
But before you can even acquire a good attorney, here are some pieces of advice for preparing yourself.
1. Try to secure witnesses to the dog biting event. Many dog attacks happen in public or in the home of an acquaintance/family member. In public you actually have a better means of recourse because complete strangers present at the event can vouch for you. In other situations it becomes a my-word-vs-his-word scenario.
2. Attempt to address the owners about the situation, but be prepared for complete denial of fault on the part of the dog. Remember, people will treat their animal like a family member, and will protect it as such. However, it is important that you know about the dog's documentation and rabies situation.
3. If you have a chance, take pictures of the injury. However don't waste time if you need immediate medical attention.
4. Get immediate medical attention. Bleeding, infection, scarring, or worse are all possibilities, so you need to get to a hospital as soon as possible. This is also variable depending on the size of the injury.
5. Secure good, legal counsel. If you are unfamiliar with dog specialists in your area, use a service that can find one for you. Don't settle for second rate help or outrageous legal fees.
Visit us at www.DreamLegalTeam.com
Bill Hayes is owner of The Hayes Firm, a specialized personal injury attorney network designed to find the best lawyer for each individual client. Every incident is unique, and it's important to have someone with many years of experience and an extensive network to help you find the right kind of attorney. Dog Attacks are one of Bill's specialties and he will be able to properly guide you through the legal process and get you the help you need. Visit today and receive a free legal consultation at www.DreamLegalTeam.com