How to defend yourself during a dog attack

ROANOKE, Va. – Cellphone photo snapped by a bystander shows one of the victims in the dog attack in downtown Roanoke using his arms to try to keep the dog at a distance. 

Staff at Angels of Assisi say that's one of several things you should do if ever attacked by an animal. They say first it's important to be observant around any dog. 

"Always check their body language. If their body is lined up in a straight line, that's an aggressive stance. If they don't break eye contact and doing a hard stare, that's also an aggressive stance," said Matthew Brown, adoption center director for Angels of Assisi.

And when you find yourself around an aggressive animal ready to attack.

"First and foremost is to stay calm. If you scream or flail or anything like that, they're either going to see it as aggressive or a lot of dogs will see it as a play," said Brown.

If, despite all your best efforts, a dog does attack, Brown says do your best to limit movement and don't make eye contact. Also, protect your vital organs.

"If they're already biting you, push your arm or leg or whatever they're biting towards them instead of pulling it away because that will make them release rather than cause more injury to yourself," said Brown. 

While it's hard to say what exactly would happen in the event a dog attacks, Brown says having a plan and some knowledge of how dogs react can help, even just a little.

Angels of Assisi takes in dogs involved in attacks very rarely. 

As for the dog in this case, a rabies test has been sent to the health department. The victims will likely receive results in the next few days.