More than a decade ago, I traveled to a rural locale to attend a family member’s wedding. I decided one day to go for a stroll down a country lane.
I’d barely started, though, when a dog on the porch of a nearby property began to yap at me. Then it came bounding down the driveway, barking its head off.
I did the only thing I could think of in that panicked moment: I ran, and the canine followed panting at my heels.
It was an utterly foolish course of action, and though I came out of it only winded, I had no idea what would’ve happened had the animal caught me. Sadly, many in Delaware have learned about it through bitter experience.
According to the Delaware News Journal, dog attacks have mounted in the state over the past decade. In 2014, 8-year-old Emily Ruckle was mauled by a family member’s dog when she simply stepped outside.
Her father, Todd Ruckle, witnessed the whole thing. “He went after her, just went after her,” he said.
“He smashed her head on the floor, then he tore off her arm. It was hanging by threads … just skin and some tendons.”
Thankfully, Emily survived and kept her arm. The same year, a Delaware boy died when a trio of pit bulls turned on him.
And two years after his daughter’s attack, Ruckle himself got attacked by two pit bulls. Legislators mulled laws that would restrict or contain dangerous animals, but everyday people wondered how they should deal with a dog attack if they found themselves facing one.
Cesar’s Way listed some guidelines for what to do if a dog comes after you. The first thing is to stay calm and not give in to fear.
Should a hostile canine approach you while you’re out, say, running or jogging, the wisest course of action is to try to get it to lose interest. So don’t scream or (like me) try to run.
By staying still, keeping your hands down and avoiding eye contact, you stand a good chance of having the aggressive dog decide you aren’t a threat. If the dog does attack, try to shove an item like a jacket or purse at it. If you get the dog to latch onto something else, you have a chance to quickly escape to safety.
Finally, if you go down, curl into the fetal position, cover your ears and don’t move. Protect your face, chest and throat. Stay calm and minimize your movement.
Experts urge individuals to avoid judging animals by breed and instead focus on their body language. A rigid body, ears combed flat to the skull and a piercing gaze tell you more about an animal’s aggression than its physical morphology.
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