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What To Do If Your Dog Bites Someone

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What To Do If Your Dog Bites Someone?So many questions come to mind when you think about what would happen if your dog bit someone. What do I do to stop my dog? Is everyone ok? Do I need to call for help? Do I report the incident to someone? Could I get sued? Your dog biting someone could possibly be one of the worst things you could imagine. Not only could someone get seriously injured but your beloved pup could be taken away from you. It’s important that you know what to do should your dog bite someone.

What To Do at the Scene

Stay Calm

First thing to remember is to remain calm. It’s important that you don’t begin to argue because it may cause your dog to attack the victim again. Not only is this for the well-being of both the victim and your dog but also because the victim has to make the decision as to whether or not they will want to hire a lawyer and sue you for damages. Being polite and nice is always the route to go because the victim may decide to be nice back and not involve a lawyer.

Seek Medical Help

Get the victim medical attention. Be mindful and take them to the hospital immediately. It’s important that they get the bite mark checked and tended to. If you’re going along with the polite and nice route, you should offer to pay for the victim’s medical bills. This was not their fault and remember, you do not want to involve lawyers.

Swap Contact Information

Give your contact information to the victim. In some jurisdictions this is required. So be sure to give your name, address, phone number, etc. to the victim. Going along with this, you should also get the victim’s information as well as any witnesses.

What Do I Do If My Dog Was Defending Me?

Dog barking with teethIt’s quite possible that your dog was protecting you.Dogs attack because they feel their property or loved ones are threatened so their owner is assaulted, they are likely to go into defense mode. Perhaps you were being mugged or attacked and your dog was trying to help you which resulted in biting as a form of saving you from harm. In this case, it’s important that you leave the area immediately. You don’t want yourself or your dog to be harmed and hopefully the criminal involved is scared off. You’ll also want to contact the police and file a report. Make sure you are honest about the situation and try to be as descriptive as possible so you can help prevent others from being attacked by this criminal.

What To Do After Your Dog Bites Someone

A few days or weeks after the attack reach out to the victim and check in to see how they are doing. Show that you genuinely care about their recovery. However, be careful of what you say because it could come back to bite you in the rear (pun intended)! Remember that there is still a chance that you and your dog will face criminal charges or a civil lawsuit. There are actually three places where you might end up.

  1. Civil Court – Dog owners are responsible for injuries from bites in most states.
  2. Criminal Court – This is rare, but if the attack was serious enough or if the dog has a rap sheet you could be accused of a number of crimes.
  3. Dog Court – Animal control may pay you a visit and take action against you and/or your dog. If you are cited – you need to prepare a defense.

Now, back to being careful about what you say, express your sympathy and show compassion for the victim. These types of remarks won’t be used against you in court because they are acts of kindness. If court is not the route for you (and hopefully it isn’t) there is still a chance that your dog may be quarantined. Quarantine can be done at your own home, so ask if this is an option for your situation.

Locate Your Dog’s Medical Records

Make a copy of your dog’s medical records including rabies shots and give it to the victim. This will put their mind at ease knowing that they are not at risk for rabies.

Seek Legal Advice

There are many reasons why you may want to seek legal advice.

  • The victim has asked you for money
  • The bite drew blood or was a significant bite
  • You think your dog could have an illness/disease or perhaps rabies
  • Your gut is telling you that the victim has intentions to press charges
  • The police contact you
  • You think you might be facing criminal consequences

Contact Your Insurance Company

If you felt that it was necessary to seek legal advice you may want to contact your insurance company. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover dog attacks (aka dog liability). If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance there is fair chance that you have coverage but it depends on the state and, commonly, whether the bite happened on your property or elsewhere. Some insurance companies even offer medical payments coverage which you can offer the victim.

Dog Bite Insurance

InsureMyCanine logoIf you are interested in protecting yourself with dog liability insurance, visit our partner at InsureMyCanine.com to learn more and get a free quote.

Don’t Lie, Be Honest!

We know you’ll want to protect yourself and your dog, but lying is never a good solution. Many dog owners give false information or make untruthful statements about the dog’s history of biting, which can end up hurting you and your dog. Because this incident can lead to criminal charges you should avoid discussing the following things.

  • Who owns the dog
  • What happened
  • Where it happened
  • Other things involving the incident

We know this sounds ridiculous and that there are times where you’ll need to discuss the incident. For example, when you take the victim to the hospital. But when discussing it, try not to go into too much detail and blab on about it. Try to be brief but also make sure it’s the truth.

A Recap On What to Expect if your Dog Bites Someone [Video]

The video below from the Paw Report has a good summary of what will happen if your dog bites someone and also provides tips on how to prevent bite situations.

The Future for You and Your Dog

Your dog is now considered dangerous. You may know the loving, sweet side of your dog and may have an explanation as to why your dog bit that person but the sad truth is that those things don’t matter in this situation. The fact is, your dog attacked someone, and because of that, your dog is considered dangerous by the local government authorities. There are now precautions that you must take.

Because your dog has a rap sheet, you both could face serious charges in one of the three courts should there be a second incident. Unfortunately, you must look at your dog differently now. You must protect your family, friends and strangers from your dog. Consider taking your dog to an animal behaviorist certified by the Animal Behavior Society to help deter aggressive behavior in the future.

Does your dog have a history of biting?

Disclaimer: Information regarding insurance company offerings, pricing and other contract details are subject to change by the insurance company at any time and are not under the control of this website. Information published on this website is intended for reference use only. Please review your policy carefully before signing up for a new pet health insurance contract or any other contract as your unique circumstances will differ from those of others who may be used for example purposes in this article.


About Kimberly Alt
Growing up, Kimberly used to get the sniffles when she was around dogs. Thankfully, she grew out of her allergy and is now able to play and snuggle with dogs as much as she wants! Although she doesn't have a dog of her own she hopes to have a big dog someday!
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64 Comments on "What To Do If Your Dog Bites Someone"

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L.A.
L.A.
My brother’s 2 year old aussie is quite territorial and has nipped at a visitor before, but nothing serious, usually just a lot of barking. The guy she nipped was a burly Marine so we just assumed she was scared of someone so much bigger and and trying to defend her territory. She herds our cows frequently and likes to chase things. A few days ago she bit our goat on the leg – but stopped when we called her off and the bite was not deep. Then today she bit a man walking on our road hard enough to… Read more »
Abby
Abby
My dog bit a gentleman that was walking by the house. He thought he was protecting our four year old grandson. The bite was on this persons calf. It did not draw blood but it was abrasive to his skin. I offered to take him to he doctor and have offered to pay medical and prescriptions. I even gave him a ride home. The bite victim has informed me that he wants compensation above the medical. I asked what amount of compensation he wanted as I would be paying for it. He wanted my insurance information to sue them. And… Read more »
Anna Meyer
Anna Meyer
I’ve got to say this because I am very angry after being attacked by an unprovoked german shepherd, unleashed while walking down a public sidewalk. I cannot even find out the owner’s name. Business next door to residence of german shepherd saw the attack and RESTRAINED the dog (They *knew* the dog, and their language left know doubt about it…a man had to get the dog OFF my leg) repeatedly witheld the owner’s name. I am beyond angry. Whoever owns a dog…DON’T EVER REPEAT this reprehensible behavior if you’re a respectful human being. I like dogs normally, by the way,… Read more »
Luka Baazovi
Luka Baazovi
My dog (caucasian shepherd) is always chained except the part that i walk with him 3 times a day. there is one elderly man who was giving my dog some food around 4 months and today i dont know what happened. my dog went crazy jumped the fence and bit him on the arm. let me remind you: he was not only wearing 1 thing, he was wearing jacket and thick coat and when he bit him his teeth went right in his arm even tho he was wearing thick coat and when i saw his arm i almost fainted,… Read more »
J Alm
J Alm

How sad your dog was chained up all day. That was abusive.

colton
colton

Not if the dog jumps fences and bites people.

karina
karina
I have a 3 year old cockerspaniel and poodle mix. I’m a minor and i’m home alone so i’m not supposed to open the door for anyone. The UPS delivery man came and i waited for him to depart and i opened the door thinking he had already left but he was still there. I opened the door and my dog came out and jumped at the man, me thinking he hurt him said “oh my god i’m sorry” and i put my dog in the house. I waited for the UPS guy to say something but he walked to… Read more »
don
I have a shitzu pekingese for 7 years and my dog attacked this guy who was returning a baby carseat I let them borrow for over a year. I didn’t let him in as my dog is barking heavily and it’s his first time coming in my house so I decided to meet him in my front door but my dog is fast to sneak out. When I opened the door my dog attacked the guy right thru his legs but he’s wearing jeans, no blood, no cut skin but it leaves a bite mark. He was so mad that… Read more »
Araceli Medrano
Araceli Medrano
I have a 4 year old chow I’ve had him since he was 6 months old. He’s not always the friendliest dog especially around strangers. About a month ago my best friend whom I’ve known for eight years, came over my house and when she got there apparently my dog was eating a sandwich and my friend tried taking it from him as he’s eating it and he bit her. I took her to the emergency she got her wounds cleaned up and had to take the rest of the week off from work. I was willing to pay for… Read more »
The Real Truth
The Real Truth

A neighbor was caring for my 4 dogs while I was out of state (I live in Michigan). While she was in our barn to feed the dogs. The 2 male dogs began fighting and she attempted to pull them apart by the collar and was bitten. She is now blaming us for the bite. Do we have any legal liability?

Crystal_Palace
Crystal_Palace
I read a long time ago of a very old elderly woman who walked her small dog. The dog wandered or leash dropped and dog went on front lawn of a home with a pitbull or rottweiler chained out from and not in the rear of the yard. The old woman’s dog was killed by them, and she tried to do what she could to save the dog and went up into the owners property to do so, in return she was severely bitten, scared and mauled by the attack dogs. The story lingered on in the papers and on… Read more »
Brittany O'Hara
Brittany O'Hara
I have a two year old German Shepard and my sister in law and I took her and my sister in law’s two dogs for a walk today on a public trail near her house. My dog can be very protective of me so my sister in law decided to walk her while I walk her dogs. We were watching a lady who was behind us so we can keep the dogs in check. A jogger came around a sorta blind corner and stopped which startled my dog and she jumped up and bit him. She did puncture the skin.… Read more »
Lauren
Lauren
I have a two year old brendal pit bull. My spouse bought her for our older child, her name is Lady. My spouse was our dogs best friend, master, and almost a year ago he was murdered so he is no longer around. Lady is a great dog, and so compassionate with our three children, ages 5, 2, and 7 months. I also have friends and their children come over quite frequently and Lady is very good with all of them. She’s great with people, she is just very protective over the kids and I along with our home. I… Read more »
John
John
I’ve heard this a million times about pit bulls, they are great with people but not so much with other dogs, that’s no excuse for your dangerous dogs behavior. I have owned labs, great danes, shnauzer’s all rescues w/ bad histories in my 25+ years of dog ownership & have never had any of them bite any living being even when they were provoked by stray dogs or children. To be honest, a dog attack is a dog attack, & the fact is your dog is dangerous. I’m sorry that your view is bias since she’s your dog, but the… Read more »
spic@the_teki_bar
spic@the_teki_bar

Tell her to screw off and get a lawyer if she wants to play this game and I’ll see you in court. Tell her don’t step on my property ever again if your playing this game you old hag. make sure to belittle her ha.

Lily
Lily

I have a female chihuahua that just had puppies. My daughter’s friend came to visit, she is like 6 years old. I put my dog and the puppies in a closet, but the little girl went in the closet to get the puppies and then my dog bit her. Can I have any legal problems?

lauren
lauren

What should I do, my friends’ dog bit someone on the street today but I was walking the dog. I am sad because I am only 11 years old and I don’t want to go to jail or make my friend’s dog get put down. Has anyone got any comments about this? The dog only made a bruise though.

Mai

My boxer just bit someone a few days ago at a dog park, but the victim is unwilling to give out any of his personal information – just first name. He’s asking for money and I’d like to write a cashiers check but he won’t give his full name.

Wendy Foreman
Wendy Foreman

Sounds like a scam. Anyone truly hurt would be quick to answer any questions you asked. The guy could be running from the police as well. Good luck!

Cari Garcia
Cari Garcia

My dog bit a girl and now I have to take her to the vet and love her for 10 days! Any chance they won’t kill her?

jackie Mitchell
jackie Mitchell
My female 4-year old English Pointer (75 pounds) bit our 15-year-old neighbor yesterday. He was in his yard and not provoking the dog. My husband was watching the dog off leash (as usual, though without the shock collar we usually have her wear and never rarely ever use and only on the lowest level) and was unable to call her back or control her. This isn’t the first time this dog has been aggressive with outsiders, and she’s even bit my husband twice (once when he intervened between a fight among her and another much 17-year-old smaller dog in our… Read more »
SCOTT SCHILLER
SCOTT SCHILLER

If you use a shock collar without proper training, you are creating a problem. Every dog should have basic obedience training. Owners need to learn to read their dogs and know what kind of corrections to use.

Jose
Jose
We have a black lab – border collie mix since he was 6 weeks old. He is now a year and a half old. He never ever showed any signs of aggression besides barking. My 7 year old daughter has always loved on the dog with hugs and such. The dog always accepted her love and gave it back. Today my daughter is laying on the couch, leans over the side to pet the dog that’s laying on the floor right beside her. She then tried to give him a hug when he just snapped at her face, give her… Read more »
David Glickman
David Glickman
My dog Rusty, a GSD rescue has been with us for 2 1/2 years now. I guess he’s around 4 1/2. We live on 6 acres and have an electronic fence that he lives within. He is a very sweet, affectionate dog with my older GSD and my 3 girls. When we first got him, he had a little nipping problem and was a fence runner. He would run along the fence line for hours. It seemed like he was a bit institutionalized. Anyway, one of my girls had a friend sleep over. The mom came over unannounced and Rusty… Read more »
Deborah Massa
Deborah Massa
I care about my neighbors, but they have a dog that comes after me and my husband at times when we work in our garden, or walk to the mailbox. He acts very aggressive toward us and will not back off, and the only solution is when we walk away and head back to our home. The man who owns the dog knows he does this and has made the statement to me that he will tie him up. The dog is still untied and doing the same thing. The dog owner even told me that his dog doesn’t listen… Read more »
Krigger9
Krigger9
I was fostering a three legged Shepard mix. I have a chain link fence in my back yard. My neighbor is absolutely nuts and has violently yelled at me and multiple neighbors about dogs barking (screaming and cursing). Today after I got home from work and let my dogs out like I always do. I went to go get ready to take a shower and about 10 min after I walk out I hear his dogs yapping like he just let them outside. So both of our dogs are going crazy barking at each other. This is common and only… Read more »
J M

I recently adopted a tripawd shepard mix. If you don’t mind, what state are you in?

sam
I have German Shepherd dog, who is about 2 years old. We were in the front lawn where my kids were playing and a lady with her daughter were passing by there on the side walk in front of my lawn, (I think it is called easement?). My dog started barking and started to pull her leash. She was tied to the tree. Some how the leash opened and she was able to reach the lady. She says that the dog bit her, but I did not see any visible marks on her selves like holes or such and no… Read more »
Abigail Laciapag
Abigail Laciapag
Hi, my dog ran out, and a man wanted to help get him and gave me a call to let me know they had my dog. My husband called me and said that my dog bit the guy and it drew blood. The guy that left a message on my phone was a friend of the guy who got bit. I immediately called the guy and asked about his friend and he said he wasn’t aware of his friend getting bit. I said please let me know if he did and I’m very sorry if he did get bit. If… Read more »
Alexis Towns
Alexis Towns
My dog was constantly harassed by my neighbors which are minors they would throw rocks, hit him with stick and poke him with brooms basically anything they could find and we have told the parents what was going on and they need to stop, one of the adults has tried challenging my dog and my dog acted aggressive toward him, the taunting has been going on for about a year and recently he bit one of the neighbors that taunt him, which was a 9 year old girl, on the leg. I know my dog is not malicious and aggressive… Read more »
Anna
Anna
My husband & I were walking our dog earlier today & he ducked behind us to take a quick nip at an elderly woman who had walked past us. No provocation. She was fine & declined any assistance of any kind. However, this is definitely not the first time he’s done this. At what point to we admit this behavior isn’t improving? We are hypervigilant when people come by. 90% of the time, his barks immediately turn to joyful talking. He loves the children dearly, but can be overprotective. What do we do now? We do not feel we can… Read more »
katrisha valenciano
katrisha valenciano
My dog bit an elderly while my dad was walking her at the park just a few days ago. The elderly came from the blind side and must have startled my dog. The elderly got all of our contact information as well as my dog’s information but my dad had forgotten to ask for their’s. Hoping the elderly seek medical help as soon as he can and that he recovers with no other issues. He said he would file a case against us if something was to happen but I’m thinking positive and hoping for the best. Thank you for… Read more »
Audrey
Audrey

My dog is 1 right now and he just bit the mail lady’s pant leg. He was barking at her and she walked into our garage to place a package in the middle of it. This is where he nipped at her. Is there any way we could possibly fix this bad behavior or would it be best just to shelter him from other people?

Pet Adoptee
Pet Adoptee
We adopted a 7-month old pup. We went camping last weekend, and he bit someone. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but she did not have her dogs leashed and she was carrying a kayak. My pup pulled out of his tether/runner. I ran and grabbed him. The woman didn’t tell me that Newton had bit her. About 3 hours later, the sheriff came and took Newton to the animal control shelter. I felt horrible. Newton has all his shots and has visited the vet often. We did not have a lot of his history, but he was on the… Read more »
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