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Being a responsible parent and pet owner

The image that you have in your head of having a family probably includes a dog. And while a four-legged friend may be the perfect addition to your household, it is important to understand that having a dog comes with a great deal of responsibilities and risks. That is why the attorneys at Harting, Simkins & Ryan, L.L.P., encourage our clients to take the decision seriously and implement the necessary steps to help ensure that their children are protected against preventable dog bite injuries.

According to the ASPCA website, a little over 30 percent of the almost five million dog bites inflicted upon children every year across the country are caused by the family pet. Those statistics serve as a sobering reminder that more can and should be done to protect your children and others from preventable injuries. Beyond that, fostering a safe and healthy environment for your kids and animals alike can go a long way to help ensure that everyone in the household is properly taken care of.

One of the most important things that you can do to prevent your dog from exhibiting erratic and potentially violent behavior is properly managing its environment. If your children are old enough, it’s important for you to teach them when and how to engage with your dog. That means instructing them on the appropriate times to pet and/or play with their four-legged sibling, and when to leave him or her alone. All interactions between your dog and children should be supervised at all times, and the animal should have a place to go for privacy when necessary.

When considering appropriate and inappropriate interactions between your dog and children, it is also important to keep in mind that it is your responsibility as the dog owner to recognize and address aggressive behavior wherever it is found. Therefore, your children should be taught to be calm and respectful toward animals. Likewise, your dog should be properly trained and socialized to interact safely with children.

Aggressive behavior in dogs can be linked to a number of environmental and learned factors. Visit our web page today to read more about dog owner liability and other related topics.

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