Beware Of Dog Sign on Old Worn Wood Fence

At Kaplan Lawyers PC, we care about your safety. What follows is a harrowing account of an animal attack, and also what you can do to best avoid becoming a victim of such an attack yourself.


Dog Attack in the Bronx

62-year old Coney Island resident Francesco Bove was on his way to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church in the Bronx, on a Friday evening earlier this month, on an exploratory mission. An artist, Bove was there to try to diagnose how to best restore the marble façade of the old church. As he neared the intersection of E. 187th and Belmont Avenue, the unthinkable happened- two pit bulls snapped from their leashes and attacked him. Frantic onlookers, desperate to help but unsure how best to intervene without incurring the dogs’ wraths themselves, watched on, horrified. Those who tried to pry the animals away were unsuccessful- hopeless against the enormous clamped strength of this particular breed of canine’s jaw, once engaged. Police officers and firefighters appeared on the scene with high-powered water hoses and rubberized safety equipment, representing a last gasp effort in saving this man’s life. Even facing high-pressured water jets, the ravenous dogs seemed undeterred. As one of the petrified witnesses remarked grimly, the dogs seemed “out for blood.”

When the dogs finally relented, yielding to the imperious force of the hose, Bove was convinced that he was dying. So too were the priests who’d administered to him his last rites. But Francesco Bove persevered. As he retells it, he had simply misinterpreted the dogs’ intentions. At first. A proud pit bull owner himself, he thought the pair were looking for some friendly attention, a pet behind the ear. The mistake proved grievously injurious, but ultimately non-fatal. Which is a miracle, considering the extent of harm done to Mr. Bove.


What To Do in the Event of an Attack

All dogs are different. Most are friendly, but some revert to their animalistic instincts when they feel threatened or afraid. Because some dogs are outfitted with some truly frightening anatomical weaponry –knife-sharp teeth, a forceful musculature- a run-in with the wrong dog can sometimes end tragically. The preliminary advice we can give is to avoid all unknown dogs, and approach the ones you do know calmly, nicely, and with a degree of deference and respect. To avoid a dog attack in the first place, you should adhere to these rules:

  • Approach dogs slowly.
  • Let the dog sniff you first.
  • Be aware of their posture. A dog that is snarling, bearing its teeth, growling and barking, etc. is very obviously perturbed. But there are less clear indicators that a dog is feeling uncomfortable. For instance, a dog should not be approach if it:
    • Has a stiff tail or tensed body.
    • Has pulled back ears or a furrowed brow.
    • Is retreating, or is in a defensive stance.
    • Is staring intensely.

Sometimes though, the unexpected happens, and so it’s important to know what to do in case of an emergency:

  • If a dog is clearly in attack mode, never turn your back to the animal or run away. A dog’s first impulse will be to give chase, and could lunge.
  • Resist the temptation to scream and yell. This will excite the dog, and escalate the situation.
  • Instead, keep your hands at your sides and avoid eye contact. Try and put space between you and the dog in this fashion.
  • If you’ve been attacked, try and force feed ANY item to the dog. It is hard, obviously, to think clearly in these situations, but substituting a handbag or removable article of clothing could help shift the attention of his violence, allowing you to escape.
  • If all else fails, curl up in a ball, covering your face, and attempt to remain motionless.

If you have been bit by a dog you should seek immediate medical attention. Even if your wounds seem minimal, dogs’ mouths sometimes carry harmful bacteria. In cases such as these, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Go to a hospital and have doctors assess the extent of the damage.


Kaplan Lawyers PC

As always, avoiding danger in the first place is ideal. That’s why we at Kaplan Lawyers PC stress that you read the safety advice provided above carefully, and obey it should you find yourself in a crisis. Of course, not all accidents can be circumvented. Owner negligence can lead to otherwise avoidable accidents. Improper use of safety mechanisms, such as harnesses and muzzles, contribute to accidents such as the one described above. Failure to install sturdy, reliable fences or partitions can leave innocent bystanders exposed to danger. If you or a loved one has been injured by an animal you owe it to yourself to seek expert counsel. As you recuperate from your injuries, you may be unable to work, and thus unable to provide for your family. During this time, it’s important you do all you can to secure compensation that will provide for your needs. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, our trusted team of experienced attorneys can help win you precisely this compensation. For a free consultation, contact us today.