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What to do when a dog bites or attacks you

A classic joke in cartoons is the antagonistic relationship between dogs and mail deliverers. While of course, this is rooted in truth, mail deliverers are not the only ones who face bites and attacks from canines. Your neighbor's furry friend that you have known for years may end up being a danger to you or your children.

With spring here and the sunshine calling everyone outdoors, you need to prepare so you will know what to do if a dog bites or attacks you.

Get medical treatment

Your first worry should be to get medical treatment, especially after a vicious attack. Infection and rabies are the highest risks you face after a dog bite. If the wound is only broken skin, you can simply wash it, apply antibiotic ointment and place a bandage over it. Watch for signs of redness, swelling, oozing or continued pain, which mean you should see a doctor. Keep medical bills, reports and other documentation as evidence.

Make a police report

Call the police to report the incident right away for legal purposes if you decide to sue and to start or add to a record of how many times that dog bites or attacks people. Having the police arrive can also encourage the dog's owner to cooperate in giving information.

Talk to an attorney

You may be hesitant to file a lawsuit, especially if you are friends with the animal's owner or do not want to see anything bad happen to the pet. On the other hand, neither do you want to pay the ER bill and any subsequent care for something you are not responsible for. Maryland law holds owners liable, so they must compensate you for your injuries and treatment, as well as take steps to prevent the incident from happening to someone else in the future. In that way, you are helping others and the dog avoid the consequences of another attack.

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