A pair of Charlotte residents are recovering after they were attacked by dogs in the University City area.
According to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report, two dogs escaped from their owner and attacked a woman and her daughter near the Mallard Glen apartments last Friday.
The victims were treated at a local hospital for what were described as serious injuries from the attack, The Charlotte Observer reported.
The owner of the dogs was cited for a leash law violation, which is considered a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Dog attacks on people like the one that occurred in Charlotte are quite common. More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. As many as 800,000 victims receive medical attention for injuries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Here are tips on how to avoid being bitten by a dog and what to do if you confront an aggressive animal:
The CDC advises that if the animal’s owner is around, “address them in a friendly manner” because dogs can sense fear or aggression towards their owner, which “can trigger them to bark, growl and even bite.”
It is also recommended not to approach a dog you don’t know and remember that no matter how friendly a dog is, think “stranger danger” when in their presence.
How to handle an aggressive dog
Animal experts also say if a dog you don’t know approaches you to remain motionless and avoid eye contact.
“Do not run, panic, or make loud noises, and “partially turn away from the dog. Facing a dog head-on can seem aggressive to them,” the CDC states.
It is also suggested never to run away from a dog because it can trigger its instinct to prey.
“They may pursue you vigorously even if their initial intent was just playful,” said dog trainer and behaviorist Shawn Riley.
Riley, who has 40 years of experience working with dogs, explained that if a dog threatens you to distract them with an object.
What to do if a dog begins to attack
“If the dog continues to threaten you, offer them something to chew on, such as your backpack or water bottle,” Riley said. “This may distract or bewilder the dog long enough to give you time to escape.”
If a dog engages in an attack, there are options you can use to survive.
Riley explained that if a dog starts biting you, you hit or kick the animal. You can also raise your voice and even yell for help. You should also protect your head and organs if the dog overwhelms you.
“Hopefully, others will hear and come to your aid. If you have a stick or another weapon, you can use it to hit the dog,” he said. “Fight as though your life depends on it because it does. Dog attacks can be fatal, so don’t take it easy on them.”