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Dog owners in Mississippi must take responsibility for animals who attack, and there are measures parents can take as well to protect children from a bite.

Children are understandably often drawn to animals, including dogs. While many interactions are completely safe, others can go awry. Unfortunately, children in Mississippi may be susceptible to dog attacks and the serious injuries that they can cause.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when dogs attack humans, children are more likely to need medical attention. Additionally, the agency states that the children most at risk of suffering an injury are those between the ages of 5 and 9.

There are ways to prevent these incidents from occurring. First, dog owners must take responsibility for their pets through doing the following:

  • Keeping animals properly restrained at home and in public
  • Teaching dogs positive socialization skills
  • Warning people not to act with a dog that may not like to be touched

At the same time, parents can teach children several valuable skills to avoid a dog bite, such as these:

1. Avoid strange animals

One of the most important items a child should learn is to never approach an unfamiliar animal. Not all animals are good with children. Some may even have a history of biting. The safest bet is to never approach a dog unless an owner gives permission.

2. Recognize the signs of an upset animal

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals points out that an animal that may be feeling anxious, aggressive or threatened may bare its teeth and try to make itself look either bigger or smaller. A dog that is growling or has the hair on its back raised may be demonstrating signs of an imminent attack.

3. Let sleeping dogs lie

This timeless adage is true. Dogs that are sleeping, eating or nursing puppies should not be disturbed. Animals in these positions could be startled easily or feel especially protective or vulnerable.

4. Do not run

The ASPCA states that trying to outrun a dog is a bad idea. Running could entice the dog to give chase, which could result in injury or even a fatal incident. Instead, when a loose dog approaches someone, the safest bet is to stand very still and avoid eye contact. If the animal lunges or attacks, children are encouraged to give the dog something to chew on, such as a book bag or jacket.

In Mississippi, it is possible for victims of dog bites to hold negligent owners responsible. When the owner violates a leash law or other animal control ordinance, the owner may have to pay for any damages the animal causes in the event of an attack. People who have questions about this issue should speak with a personal injury attorney at the Law Office of George B. Ready.