It’s unimaginable. And yet it really happened. When 45-year-old Melvin Olds Jr. cut through a wooded area around Lake Placid, he was attacked and killed by a pack of dogs. Olds’ fiancé noted that she’d seen a pack of dogs in her neighborhood previously, but that they had not seemed aggressive. Authorities recovered Old’s body with over 100 dog bites covering it, and have since captured six dogs, whose bite sizes match the wounds. DNA testing will be performed to verify whether or not they were involved in the vicious attack.
In a similarly terrifying episode, a woman was critically injured when a pack of dogs escaped from a neighbor’s home and attacked her. Luckily, good Samaritans happened by and assisted her, two of whom were also injured in the attack. Without the help of onlookers, it is doubtful the 60-year old would have survived at all. As it is, she likely will suffer lifelong effects. Observers say it looked like the animals were eating her alive.
What to Do when Encountering a Threatening Canine
While stories of pack attacks are relatively rare, aggressive canine incidents occur daily. What do experts recommend you do when face to face with a snarling dog?
- Do not make eye contact, and do not attempt to talk to it;
- Try to slowly turn sideways and cross your arms;
- Appear to ignore the animal;
- Remain still, and then slowly and deliberately create distance between you and the dog;
- Attempt to get to a place of safety.
When these maneuvers aren’t working, it may be necessary to prepare for an attack. Remember that your best bet is to become boring to the animal, so staying calm is essential:
- Remain completely still and try to remain upright;
- Attempt to get help, but not by shouting. Use a calm voice to try to draw others’ attention;
- If on the ground, curl into a ball, attempting to protect vital organs, face, and neck.
- Yelling or screaming may further aggravate the animal, so try to remain calm;
- Kicking or hitting a dog is likely to antagonize it; if you can cover its head, that is the most likely act to get it to disengage.
Florida law (767.04) holds any dog owner liable for damages suffered as a result of a dog bite if the victim is in a public place, or lawfully on private property, regardless of any previous history of animal aggression. Dog owners who post a Bad Dog sign on their property may use this as a defense. However, it is the owner’s responsibility to keep such a dog away from potential victims, especially children, and failure to do so is clearly negligent, putting liability back on the dog owner.
After an Attack
The physical, mental, and emotional aftermath of a vicious dog attack can be unparalleled. If you or a loved one are facing a difficult recovery, the experienced Kissimmee personal injury attorneys at the Salazar & Kelly Law Group, P.A. can help you pursue damages in order to move forward. Contact our office to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.