Dog bites are extremely traumatic, even if injuries are relatively minor. Aggressive dogs pose a serious threat to people in North Carolina, and negligent owners only add to the chance that their animal will cause substantial and lasting injuries. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers the following information on dog aggression and why it occurs.

Fear aggression

In many cases, a fearful dog will attempt an escape from whatever is eliciting that response. If escape is not possible, the animal could lash out, which is considered a fear attack. Even if you turn your back the dog it might still attack since the fear response is so strong. Additionally, fearful dogs do not exhibit standard aggressive behavior, such as growling, snarling, or showing teeth. This can make it difficult for a person to identify a potential threat when encountering a fearful dog.

Territorial aggression

Dogs are very territorial and as a result they’ll attack anyone believed to be encroaching on their territory. This becomes problematic when an untethered dog lashes out at a delivery person or visitor. Perceived territory can include the home itself, as well as outdoor areas and places surrounding the home. Unfortunately, it may be impossible for a person to avoid territorial dogs due to the circumstances, and this can easily lead to a damaging attack.

Redirected aggression

Sometimes a dog’s attentions will be spurred by a person or another animal, which causes an attack. When attempting to stop the attack or break up a fight occurring between two dogs, aggression can be redirected to the person intervening. A dog may also attack when being held back from an object, which is known as frustration-elicited aggression. In either case, one dog can may injure multiple people and other animals when attacking.