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The Basics of the Dog Biting Law

Generally speaking, in every state across America, the Dog Bite Law requires that the owner be responsible in the event that their dog should bite a person who is not trespassing or provoking the dog. Each state has some slight variation regarding how the law is implemented and what happens to the dog, the owner and the bite victim. However, there are some general guidelines about what to expect.

What Happens To the Dog?

Following a dog bite attack, a dog will often have to be quarantined for a period of time to determine whether there are any diseases that could be transmitted to the bite victim (such as rabies). This is often the standard procedure following a first offense. If your dog has bitten others previously, it may now be considered a dangerous and vicious dog—and different consequences and penalties may apply, including possible criminal charges against the owner.

If your dog should bite someone, then you should try to quickly gather any medical and veterinary records to prove that the dog has had proper vaccinations, especially rabies. This may prevent your dog from being quarantined.

A dog with multiple offenses for biting others without provocation may be put to sleep to prevent deadly attacks.

What Happens To the Dog Owner?

If a dog attacks a person, then the owner is liable and can be sued for medical bills and other damages. If the owner is determined to have knowledge that the dog is vicious or dangerous, the penalties can be more serious. If you have a dog that is not calm around people (especially children), then it is your responsibility to keep the dog away from people and away from potentially dangerous situations. Having proper homeowner’s insurance can help in the event that you are sued by a dog bite victim.

If your dog should bite someone, then you should be forthcoming about the dog, including his history, medical records and disposition. Being prepared to be cooperative about insurance information and paying for medical bills may save you from being sued for damages later. Do not ever fail to respond if you are contacted by an attorney representing the bite victim—handle it right away, because ignoring this type of communication can leave you with much more serious problems in the future.

What Happens To the Bite Victim?

Depending on the severity of the bite, the bite victim may need to seek medical attention. The wound needs to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and bandaged to help prevent infection. If there is any suspicion that the dog may have rabies (or lack of proof that the dog was properly vaccinated), then the bite victim will most likely have to undergo a series of rabies shots to prevent developing this serious disease. Prompt treatment is necessary.

Any bite victim should keep excellent documentation regarding the details of the attack, as well as any subsequent medical treatment or intervention that is required.

If you are a dog owner, you should do everything in your power to prevent your dog from being in any position to attack a person. This is to protect both you and your dog!