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by Abigail Van Buren

Fear Lingers After Lunchtime Walker Is Attacked by Dog

DEAR ABBY: For health reasons, I had been walking during my lunch break at work. That ended last summer when someone unleashed his dog between his house and his car. The dog saw me on the sidewalk, charged, jumped on me and bit me. Thankfully, I put my arm up, so it only got my arm, but now I'm terrified to walk outside for fear of being attacked again.

The bite was nothing compared to the trauma. I'm afraid the fear will be with me for the rest of my life. No one thinks their dog would hurt someone, but I learned the hard way it's not always true. I wish dog owners would be more responsible, not only for their sake, but also for their dog's and other people's. Do you have any thoughts? -- SHELL-SHOCKED IN MICHIGAN

DEAR SHELL-SHOCKED: When the attack happened, you should have reported it to animal control and given them the address of the homeowner. If the dog's owner didn't volunteer to see you got help for your injury -- and that includes your emotional trauma -- you should discuss it with a lawyer. If that dog had been a large one, you could have been seriously injured.

Go online to the Humane Society's helpful section on this topic, www.nodogbites.org. As for my thoughts, I think you should resume your exercise routine whenever the weather permits.

Read more in: Health & Safety