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What Happens After A Dog Bite Is Reported?

Last Updated on May 18, 2022 by Dogs Vets

What Happens After A Dog Bite Is Reported?


Dogs are known to be man’s best friends. However, while they may be their owner’s best friends, they might not be as friendly to passers-by.

Around 4.5 million people get bitten by dogs, many of them as a result of their owner not using a leash and a muzzle. But what happens once a dog bites you? Can you report it? What will happen if you do? We are about to find that out.

Why File a Dog Bite Reports?

Filing a report for a dog bite may not always be a sign that the dog is a threat to the public. With that in mind, if you get bitten by a dog, it is very important to report the situation and ensure the authorities know about it. This way, you may prevent it from happening to anyone else in the future.

Some dogs are more likely to bite compared to others. As a result, the owner will need to take proper precautions, such as a leash or a muzzle.

In most cases, when you file a report, you are not punishing the dog, but the owner that failed to take those precautions. A lawsuit will make them think twice before they leave the dog unleashed again.

The Stages of a Dog Bite Report

When you file a dog bite report, the following things will usually happen – although not always in that order. Each state handles things differently, so you might want to discuss matters with your attorney. Overall, here is how the process will unfold: 

1. Filing the Report

Filing a dog bite report will have you providing details of the incident, the name of the owner, and what could have potentially caused it.

You may want to gather evidence at the scene, such as pictures of the dog, damaged items, or any potential injuries. In case you need to file a lawsuit, you may need these.

2. Seeing the Doctor

After filing the report, you need to see a doctor for the dog bite. They will treat your wound, and then make a report of the incident.

If the owner cannot provide documents that their dog is up to date with their rabies shot, then you may be treated proactively for that. If the dog does have the shot, then they may still have to give you a tetanus shot.

3. Awaiting Initial Response

What occurs after the report was filed will depend on the state that you are in. In some states such as Washington, unless the dog is particularly vicious, no action will be taken against it. Washington state dog bite attorneys will be needed in case you want to file a lawsuit for a particularly bad bite. Once the initial response comes in, a legal claim can be taken.

4. Taking Precautions

For the most part, dogs are not put under blame for the bite. If the dog is not violent, the police may simply inform the owners of the notice after visiting the house.

Further information will be noted, such as circumstances that led to the dog bite and if there is any chance that it may happen again.

In most cases, law enforcement may ask that the owner quarantines the dog (i.e., ensuring they don’t leave the home or yard, not on the sidewalk, even on the street). If the restrictions are followed and the dog remains calm, then no further actions will be taken after the report is filed.

5. Calling Animal Control 

In cases of dog bites, animal control may also come to investigate the bite and the dog. Usually, this will take place within the first 24 hours of the dog bite.

If the bite is severe, animal control may decide against quarantining it in the home and will take it to the local shelter for observation. 

The decision on what actions should be taken will depend on the breed, past biting incidents, rabies vaccination, licensing, and the owner’s willingness to abide by the chosen quarantine rules. 

6. Decisions Concerning the Dog

If the dog attack was particularly vicious and the dog remains violent during quarantine, then the authorities may decide to euthanize the animal. 

Animal Control wants to avoid this unless someone is injured severely and leaves them no action. If the dog bite was not very bad and the dog is considered calm, no action may be taken (aside from the recommendations to take the dog to training).

The Bottom Line

For the most part, unless the dog is particularly vicious or the bite was very bad, no action will be taken against the animal. At most, victims may decide to press charges against the owner of the dog for failing to comply with pet restraining measures (the leash and nozzle).



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