Issue: A strange animal scratches or bites your child.
What to do: Administer first aid, then seek medical attention. “Because of the bacteria in an animal’s saliva and on its claws, bites or scratches can get infected very easily,” says Angeli. A course of antibiotics may be necessary. “Ask the owner if the cat or dog is up-to-date on its vaccinations, and ask to see documentation,” says Angeli. “The ‘parents’ of an animal are responsible for its behavior, just like the parents of children. If there’s a medical cost involved, the owner should pay for it unless the animal was provoked and defending itself.” Homeowners’ insurance, Angeli points out, will often cover animal bites and scratches.
Issue: A neighbor and pet take up the entire sidewalk on their morning strolls.
What to do: Many owners prefer a retractable leash, which can become a trip wire for walkers and joggers whenever the dog wanders away. “Ask the pet owner to keep the leash tucked up until he reaches his final destination,” says Zawistowski. If you’re the pet owner, he adds, “have the dog stay relatively close to you―not more than four feet away. Sidewalks are crowded enough already, so your leash shouldn’t be taking up the whole area.”