If humans couldn’t trust their animal companions, we would not keep pets. You would not have a cat to cuddle with or a dog to play with. These animals would stay outside where they couldn’t attack or otherwise injure you.
Luckily, you do not have to worry about pets harming you most of the time. These animals have become more docile and teachable than their wild counterparts, so you can trust them to be your friends. However, every so often, one of these creatures acts out of character and attacks the humans around it.
If this situation happened to you, you likely feel confused and also frightened-especially if that animal caused serious injuries. Use the information below to understand why that cat or dog attacked and what you can do to find closure.
Reasons Pets Will Attack
As mentioned above, a pet animal won’t normally attack a human. But if the animal finds itself in any of the situations below, it could lash out.
1. You May Have Startled or Frightened It
Even the most calm and sweet-natured animals rarely react well to loud noises, close proximity to strangers, painful or uncomfortable sensations, or the sight of someone rushing at them. These situations incite the dog’s or cat’s fight or flight response. And most of the time, if pet animals have to choose, they will go with flight.
However, if they have nowhere to run because of the crowd of children around them, because someone holds them tightly, or because they are trapped in a corner, they could turn to their fight response instead. And the more frightened or threatened an animal feels, the more viciously it attacks in most cases.
2. It May Want to Protect Its Kittens or Puppies
Adult dogs and cats have a powerful instinct to protect their little ones, so they will react more anxiously than usual if they perceive something unsafe happening around their offspring. For example, if a child picks up a newborn kitten, the mother may fear for the kitten and scratch the child. Or if heavy boots come too close to the puppies’ napping place, momma might bite.
3. You Might Have Trespassed on Its Territory
Some animals haven’t quite shed their territorial instincts, especially animals that have partial wolf or wildcat ancestry. If you know one of your neighbors or friends has one of these animals, tread carefully around it so it doesn’t think you threaten its territory. That territory can encompass one yard or several, depending on the animal and the freedom its owner gives it.
4. It Might Be Old, Injured, Sick or Otherwise Mentally Compromised
Most animals, even wild ones, do not want to attack humans. But if age, trauma, or illness compromises them mentally, they may attack in seemingly irrational situations, such as when you simply walk by their yards on the road or sidewalk.
5. It Might Come from a Home or Area Where People Mistreat It
Sometimes pets develop a deep fear of humans because of past mistreatment. They may live in homes or have come from areas where people treat them poorly. As a result, they feel fear or anger every time they see a human, no matter what that human does, so they immediately have a fight or flight response.
Ways to Respond After a Pet Bites You
Unfortunately, you cannot seek legal restitution after a wild animal bites you in most cases. But no matter what kind of animal bites you, you must see your doctor immediately to check for rabies and other illnesses. However, if you know the animal that attacked you belonged to somebody, you can pursue legal restitution.
But before you file a claim with the courts and make the suit official, talk to a lawyer and make sure your case meets the following criteria:
- You did not provoke the animal in any way to attack you. You didn’t violate its territory by going somewhere you weren’t supposed to be (like jumping into a backyard during a robbery), and you did not threaten the pet in any way.
- Your injuries occurred because of this animal and your subsequent escape from it. “Injuries” can refer to both mental and physical harm. You had a right to be in the area where the animal attacked you. It was a public place and/or you were invited to be there. The person you will sue owns the animal that injured you.
You may have the right to further compensation if the animal had a history of violence and the owner failed to control it. Your lawyer can tell you more. So make sure your case meets the criteria above, and then call your legal counsel to start building your case. And if you have any other questions related to personal injury, we invite you to read the other posts in our blog.