How to File a Dog Bite Report
Whether you’re an avid dog lover or you shy away from all four-legged creatures, no one ever wants to be attacked by one. Unfortunately, it happens more often than you may realize. If you or a loved one have been attacked by a dog, it’s important to file a dog bite report with your local animal control agency as soon as possible. Read on to learn why and how to file a dog bite report.
Why File a Dog Bite Report?
Sometimes a dog bite victim doesn’t want to file a report because he or she is friends with the dog’s owner, afraid of the owner, or doesn’t want anything to happen to the dog itself. However, authorities strongly suggest or require victims of dog bites to report these incidents to the local animal control agency for a number of reasons, including the following:
- It provides legal documentation which helps if you need to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit against the owner. Filing a report will help you obtain records regarding the dog’s owner, the dog’s history, and vaccination information. The investigation may also provide evidence you can present to the insurance company or during a lawsuit.
- It helps local authorities enforce state and local dog bite laws. A dog bite report triggers an investigation into the incident, and if the dog is categorized as dangerous, the owner may be required to carry special insurance or take extra precautions to ensure the public’s safety. They may also face fines or even criminal consequences if they fail to comply.
- It helps protect others from being attacked by the same animal. Someone is more likely to take extra precautions once the authorities are aware of the dog’s dangerous behavior, especially if they are required to do so by law. In more extreme cases, a particularly vicious dog may need to be put down in order to avoid devastating attacks.
Local animal control agencies also help protect dogs that are being abused or neglected, so filing a dog bite report may be in the animal’s best interest as well.
How to File a Dog Bite Report
After sustaining a dog bite, you should first seek medical attention. Dog bites can lead to infection and even rabies in some cases. You should also document your injuries and the circumstances surrounding the incident. Take pictures of your wounds, write down what you remember from the incident, and speak with others who witnessed the event.
After these initial steps, research your local animal control agency to find out how to file a dog bite report in your area. The animal control agency may be a division of the local police department, the humane society, your county’s health department, or some other entity. Some have forms you can fill out online or submit via fax, while others require you to call in to initiate the report process.
Lastly, you must cooperate with animal control’s investigation into the incident. Local agencies may issue subpoenas, interview witnesses, and hold hearings to determine what happened and whether or not they need to exact penalties or remove the dog from the owner’s care.
What to Do If a Report Has Been Filed Against Your Dog
If a dog bite report has been filed against your dog, you will need to cooperate with the investigation conducted by the animal control authority. However, you should also consider contacting a dog bite attorney. As a result of a dog bite, you could be sued, your insurance rates can go up, your dog could be taken away from you, and you could face fines or even criminal charges in more extreme cases. A dog bite attorney will know the applicable dog bite laws in your state and the legal defenses that may be available to you.
Get a Legal Review of Your Dog Bite Claim
Although it may seem like a straightforward process, the legal and financial ramifications of a dog bite can be complex based on the laws of your state and the facts of your case. In addition to filing a dog bite report, get a claim review from an experienced attorney today to discuss your options and better understand the process.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.