Paw Prints: Most 4.7M dog bites each year could be prevented

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, dogs bite about 4.7 million people each year. Most of these people are children. A dog bites out of fear, to protect its territory or to prove dominance over the person bitten. Responsible dog ownership includes appropriate socialization, supervision, training, spaying or neutering, and periodic secure confinement, if necessary. Most dog bites can be prevented, and you can significantly reduce your dogs’ risk for biting by following these tips: • Spay or neuter your dog. It will reduce your dog’s desire to roam or fight with other dogs. Spayed or neutered dogs are much less likely to bite.• Socialize your dog. Introduce your dog to people so that he will not be frightened or nervous.• Train your dog. This is a good investment for your family. Every member of the household should be in on the training, and it’s a great way to socialize your dog.• Teach your dog appropriate behavior. Even in fun, you should not teach your dog to go after people or other animals. Your dog doesn’t know the difference between play or real life. Set appropriate limits. If your dog exhibits dangerous behavior to other animals or people, seek professional help from your veterinarian or dog trainer.• Be a responsible dog owner. Have your dog licensed as the law requires and provide veterinarian care regularly. Don’t allow your dog to roam or spend a lot of time alone. Dogs who spend a lot of time tied on a chain or alone in the backyard can often become dangerous. Well-socialized dogs are less likely to bite. • Err on the safe side. Be cautious with your dog in new situations. If your dog overreacts to visitors, put him in another room when someone comes over. If you don’t know how your dog will react in situations, leave him at home.• Teach children not to chase or tease dogs. It’s important to teach children appropriate behavior around dogs, as children are three times as likely as adults to suffer dog bites. Dogs are uncomfortable with children’s quick movements and loud voices, which can easily result in a dog bite.• Learn a dog’s body language. A dog bite could occur if the ears are standing up, the fur on the back is standing on end and tail is straight up (possibly wagging), or if she shows her teeth and growls and stares straight at the person.• Never sneak up on a dog that is sleeping or eating. A startled dog can easily bite.• Never pet a dog that is in a car or behind a fence. A dog will usually try to protect its territory.

About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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