When a dog bites someone – be it a neighbor, family member or stranger – an injury claim is only valid if the animal was unprovoked. Otherwise, there may not be retributions for the incident.

If you live near a dog that may be dangerous, follow these tips to keep from making any action that could be considered “provoking” the animal to bite.

Define provoke

An Ohio dog owner is liable for any harm a dog causes – whether it be purposeful or not – if the injured person was not stimulating or deliberately upsetting the dog, trespassing or breaking any other criminal law on the dog owner’s property.

Avoid provoking a dog

While petting a passerby’s dog may seem innocent to you, doing so could be considering provoking the animal to bite.

To keep your intentions from resulting in a dog bite, here are a couple of preventive measures you should follow when you are near someone else’s animal:

  • Never pet or reach out to pet an animal without the pet owner’s permission
  • If an owner permits you to pet their dog, hold out your hand and allow the animal to sniff and approach you first
  • Do not approach an animal you are not familiar with it and no one is around
  • If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, don’t run – remain still, keep calm and avoid direct eye contact with the animal
  • Turn slightly away from an unfamiliar animal and slowly back away or instruct the animal to “Go home”
  • Do not throw objects or make loud noises if you are near an unfamiliar animal
  • Avoid attempting to interact with a dog who is eating, sleeping or nursing puppies

Injuries associated with dog bites

A dog bite can be extremely painful, but in some circumstances, the bite may only be of the suffering. If the animal has not been vaccinated for rabies, it’s bite, saliva or scratches can transmit the virus. Bites can also spread other germs that may result in infection.

If you are bitten by a dog, it’s important to call local authorities to the scene and seek medical attention as soon as possible.

If a dog attacks unprovoked

Even if a friendly dog (unprovoked) jumps on you and causes you to fall or hurt yourself, the owner is liable for your injuries. In cases when a dog attacks you or otherwise causes you harm, report the incident, seek medical attention and gain the help of a personal injury attorney.

The authorities will keep a record of the incident, while medical professionals keep a record of your injury. A lawyer can use both of these records to help ensure that there are proper repercussions for the dog owner’s neglect.