Handy Law advice on how to defend yourself against an animal attack.

Posted on June 30, 2016

Consider this scenario for a moment. You are walking home, after a long day’s work when you notice that on the sidewalk is a dog walking toward you weirdly, baring it’s teeth. You begin to back away, and then run. BAM! The dog chases you, knocking you to the floor. What do you do?

In another scenario, you are hiking along a wooded path near your home when you spot what appears to be a very large dog. It is a cougar, You are alone, and it is staring you down along the path. What do you do?

And for a final scenario, imagine yourself driving when you hit something. While your car is totalled, you seem to be okay. However, your car is now dead and you can’t see the animal that you hit. Is it okay?

Between dog bites, wild animal attacks, and car-accidents involving animals, many lives are claimed each year. And while learning about how to defend against these scenario’s may not be enough to save your life should one of these events befall you, it just might make the difference.

1.The dog attack.

If you haven’t been knocked down or otherwise incapacitated/bitten by the dog, try to act big and intimidating, dogs are more likely to run with their tails between their legs than actually attack you if they feel legitimately threatened. Still, there is the chance that the dog isn’t afraid of you.

If you are rushed by a big dog (small dogs present less of a threat, and can be manhandled by most) Rather than take the rush head on, take one step to the side so that one shoulder is facing the dog and use that arm to defend. The dog will likely bite your arm as it is closest to it. If it goes for the legs, even better, as now you have both arms to defend yourself. There are many breeds of dogs which don’t let go after biting, so don’t try to pry the dog’s jaws free, instead, if you can, use your arm to defend your body from harm and grab it’s eyes. Forcefully push your thumb and forefinger into the dog’s eyes until it lets go. If this doesn’t work, continue to push until the dog has been blinded, the pain will likely dissuade the animal and it may begin to try to flee, it is likely in your best interest to let this happen and seek medical attention. If the animal continues to attack, and is stronger than you, continue to yell and make noise while attacking it’s sensitive areas (eyes, nose, stomach) all the while defending with your bitten arm.

2.The wild-animal attack.

This one is a bit harder to defend against, because it depends greatly upon the attacking animal. A grizzly isn’t going to be beaten by a human, and if you try to fight you may make it worse. Meanwhile it is always better to forcefully fight against a cougar or black bear. For tips on defending oneself against wild animals, look here.

3.I just hit something! Don’t panic. Is your car okay? If so, pull a distance away and park, call the police and wait at the scene. If you don’t have a phone, leave your hazard lights and headlights on. DO NOT APPROACH THE ANIMAL. Along many major roads there are phones that can be used for emergency calls Find one and use it to call the police if you can do so safely, otherwise, wait.