Under Oklahoma dog bite law, pet owners are responsible for keeping their dogs leashed, fenced, or otherwise restrained, and they may be held liable for any bites, attacks, or injuries caused by their pets. However, as any Oklahoma City Dog Bite Lawyer can attest, not all pet owners act responsibly in protecting others from possible injuries by their dogs. Certain breeds are considered more aggressive and dangerous, with Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, and German Shepherd listed among the "top ten dangerous breeds," but even small breeds and puppies can be extremely dangerous--even deadly--if they become aggressive. In one notorious case, a 6-week-old infant was killed by the family dog--a Pomeranian. In Oklahoma, a two-month old baby was killed at his home by a 6-week-old lab puppy. These cases, though rare, underscore the adage that "any dog can bite." Even otherwise gentle animals can act aggressively if they are provoked, whether that provocation is real or simply perceived by the animal. After Oklahoma City Animal Welfare workers reported more than 300 animal bites, most of them by pets rather than strays, by June 30 of this year, local experts listed several tips to help people prevent dog bites or to avoid serious injury if attacked. First, say experts, avoid any action which may trigger a dog's predatory instincts:
- Remain calm.
- Do not run, which merely encourages the animal to chase.
- Do not look the animal directly in the eye, as this is seen as an act of aggression which may entice the animal to prove its dominance.
- Do not make loud noises, such as squealing or screaming, which may mimic the sound of prey.
- Do not approach a stray animal or an unfamiliar animal.
- Do not trespass on a dog's property. If legitimately on the animal's property, make sure its owner has the dog properly restrained.
- Do not lean against a fence or wall in attempting to avoid an animal. You may be allowing that dog to corner you on property it has "marked" as its own.
- If a dog barks at you, it is likely warning you to stay away. Leave the animal's "territory."