Dogs bark and chase and sometimes they bite. Runners try to run faster. Cyclists just pedal away. But too often, a nasty encounter occurs. Here are some guidelines to help everyone share-the-road without incident.
Dogs can be extremely quick to attack. Watch this 0:31 second video of how fast a dog attacks a cyclist. Yahoo News
- Warn the dog owner that you are approaching.
- Runners – shout “on your right/left.”
- Cyclist – use a bell to alert the dog owner.
- If there is no leash on the dog, ask the owner to control the dog.
- Approach the dog slowly and give a wide berth.
- Don’t assume the dog owner has control of the dog.
- Be polite – thank the dog owner for controlling the dog.
TIPS FOR DOG OWNERS
- Always keep the dog on a short leash – not a retractable leash.
- Be alert for approaching persons and dogs.
- Enroll in an obedience class for dogs that are prone to chase.
TIPS TO AVOID A BITE OR ATTACK:
- Stop running and stand stationary with your arms pulled in to your body.
- Avoid staring at the dog and look to the side.
- Once the dog has calmed down you can back away slowly.
- Avoid turning your back on the dog.
- If the dog attacks, drop/throw a piece of clothing for the dog to grab instead of you.
- In all cases avoid screaming and flailing like wounded prey.
- Report the incident to your local law animal control authority.
A FINAL WORD – No dog gets one-free-bite. Tennessee law requires the dog owner to keep the dog 1) under reasonable control (use a leash) and 2) from running at large (no loose dogs).
Jonathan Stephens lives in East Nashville and has been practicing general civil law for over 20 years. He is a member of the Executive Council of the Tennessee Bar Association Animal Law Section. Mr. Stephens is available for speaking engagements and dog law questions. He may be contacted at Staff@TennDogBiteLaw.com.
The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. Contacting an attorney does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need specific legal advice for a case or potential case, you should retain and attorney directly rather than relying on this article.