Nov 192015
 

If you come across an aggressive or dangerous dog you need to stay safe and report the dog to the proper authorities. Taking the right steps in this kind of incident should be done for the dog’s sake, as well as for you and your community’s well-being. Here’s how to deal with and report a dangerous dog.

Steps

Assessing the Situation and Staying Safe

  1. Keep yourself safe. If you come across an aggressive dog, particularly an unattended stray, the best thing to do is to slowly back away from it before you get too close. Aggressive dogs do not like you to enter their area, so don’t be tempted to try to calm it down by moving towards it.
    Report a Dangerous Dog Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • If you run, the dog may go after you and attack. Keep calm, avoid strong eye contact, and do not enter their space.[1]
    • Be sure that you don’t stop backing away from an aggressive dog until you are a safe distance away. Once you are far enough away, turn and walk away.
    • Don’t assume that a dog is aggressive purely due to its breed. Aggressiveness is most often due to training, or lack of training, or abuse, not due to ingrained attributes of a breed.[2]
  2. Defend yourself if you are actively being attacked. Protect your face and other sensitive areas of your body such as your neck and chest.[3] If you are on the ground try to curl up in a ball and wrap your hands around the back of your neck to protect it.[4]
    Report a Dangerous Dog Step 2 Version 2.jpg
    • Try to get the dog to attack something other than your body. If you have a sweater or a bag, try to get the dog to attack that instead.[5]
  3. Warn others you come across that there is an aggressive dog in the area. This is especially important if you see children walking in the direction of the dog.
    Report a Dangerous Dog Step 3 Version 2.jpg

Reporting the Dog to the Proper Authorities

  1. Call the Emergency Services, or your local emergency number, if you or someone else is in danger. If a person is being attacked, she will probably need medical attention. The police will also need to assess the situation if the attack is severe enough.
    Report a Dangerous Dog Step 4.jpg
    • This does not mean that you should call the Emergency Services if you are nipped or barked at by a dog. However, you should call the police if you, or someone else, is experiencing severe physical harm. In some cases dog attacks can be very serious and cause injury or death.
    • If you have been bitten but are in no danger of further immediate injury you may want to call your local non-emergency police number. They can connect you to the police unit that deals with crimes involving animals, if there is one in your area.[6]
  2. Locate the number for your local animal shelter or humane society if the dog is being aggressive. You can find this number by searching in your telephone book, online, or by calling local directory assistance.
    Report a Dangerous Dog Step 5.jpg
    • Your community may also have an animal control department. If you have one, and the dog is severely aggressive, it may be best to find their number. They may be able to get to the scene more quickly than animal shelter or humane society personnel.
    • If you are in a rural area you may need to get the number of the sheriff, as other options may not be available.[7]
    • If you’re a child, tell an adult right away so that they can make the call.
  3. Call and make your report. Be prepared to describe the dog’s physical characteristics and location. You may be asked for your phone number as well, so that responders can call you for more details. The authorities on the phone should tell you what to do next and those responding will take care of the dog as quickly, and humanely, as they can.
    Report a Dangerous Dog Step 6.jpg
    • Report the dog as soon as possible so that the animal control authorities can locate it before it gets far from where you saw it.
  4. Stay on the line if requested. It may be the case that the animal is traveling away from the location you reported. While your first priority should be your own safety, it may be helpful for you to keep an eye on where the dog is going, especially if it traveling quickly.
    Report a Dangerous Dog Step 7.jpg

Warnings

  • Stray dogs can carry fleas and diseases. Be careful about handling them, whether they seem particularly dangerous or not.
  • If the dog seems dangerous, make your own safety your number one concern. Don’t approach it.

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Sources and Citations

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How to Report a Dangerous Dog
Source: How To Of The Day