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Three tips to reduce the risk of dog bites during Halloween

Halloween is a time for make believe and fun. Children dress up as their favorite characters and frolic through neighborhoods in the hopes of scoring a bag full of sugar filled loot. Although most ventures from house to house result in gifts of candy, danger can lurk in others. This is particularly true for homes with aggressive dogs.

The constant sounds of doorbell ringing, kids screaming and running feet could likely be terrifying for any dog, aggressive or not. As such, owners should take extra precautions to make sure that the dog and trick-or-treating children are safe. Relatively simple steps include putting on background noise to decrease the abrasiveness of the Halloween sounds, disconnect your doorbell if the sound bothers the dog and keep your dogs indoors during trick-or-treating. This last step helps ensure not just the safety of children, but that of dogs as well.

Parents of children can also take steps to help reduce the risk of a dog attack. These steps include:

  • Teach your children dog etiquette. Teach your kids how to approach a dog. Tell them they must ask the owner first and to hold out their hand for the dog to sniff before attempting to pet the dog. Tell children that they should never approach a dog without the owner present.
  • Show your children what to do if a dog escapes. If chased by a dog, it is often best for children to "be a tree." This means that they fold their hands in front of their bodies, look down and their feet and remain perfectly still. No running and no screaming since these actions could encourage a chase.
  • Meet dogs another day. There is enough going on during Halloween festivities, meeting a new dog does not need to be a priority. It may be best to simply instill a "we will meet dogs another day, no meeting new dogs" on Halloween rule to avoid any potential issues.

Unfortunately, even when these steps are taken accidents can happen. If your child or a loved one is injured in a dog attack remedies are available. The owner can generally be held responsible for these injuries and be required to cover the costs associated with the attack through a personal injury lawsuit. Contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options.

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