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.
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! She and her husband adopted Sally, a four-year-old hound mix, in early 2017, and she has brought so much joy into their lives. Life as pet parents has been very rewarding.

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Daniella
We were enjoying the beach during the weekend and my friend brought her nephews. unfortunatetly one of the kids approached to my dog went she was eating and she bit her , I apologize for what’s happened, I also offered to pay the medical bills and they said the kid has a good ensurance so they won’t need help . After one month and half they called me asking me if I will pay for the medical bills , I said yes but please send me the invoices . They told me they don’t have bill for everything and they didn’t want to provide me the account info to make a deposit . After all, they send me the bills , the amount was more than they said and now I received a letter from an attorney law firm . What should I do? I already paid for the majority of the bills
NEED HELP
this had happen but it was a 7 year old boy and he had missed with her so yeah but know i can’t have my baby girl back.The SPCA had token her away and I had no choice but to gave up my rights ,They also changed her name . she was my only thing that held me together and with out her.I feel like there is no point to live , but I have a family.But they take a huge chunk of it .So what do I do?
Jordan
I’ve been curious about finding a dog bite attorney to help us in case our dog bit someone. I’m glad you talked about how you should get legal advice for a dog bite, because I think it would be really helpful. I’m going to have to keep this in mind and hopefully never need a dog bite attorney!
Dog Lover
Awesome Article. This is a great information on dogs training. I don’t think that I have read such an amazing writing/blog before. Keep up the good work. Thanks.
Stephanie
A couple of days ago my Pekingese mix and I were out for our morning walk and he bit someone. She was a runner passing us from behind on the sidewalk. She scared the heck out of me because she called out “behind you” right behind my right shoulder. My dog was startled and jumped up on her, she jumped back and he nipped her shin. As far as I could see the skin wasn’t broken. I feel so awful about this. I apologized like crazy. She said it was ok and I practically had to force my name and number on her. Now this morning I received a call from animal control that my dog was reported. I’m devastated.
Pat
The other day on a run I came across two ladies walking their dogs. As I ran past the pair, one of the dogs turned and bit me on the back of my knee. The bite tore through my pants and broke the skin on the back of my knee. While I stopped to inspect the bite, the owner asked if I was okay, but minimal response was provided beyond that. This article would be good for all dog owners to read and have handy so that they can provide better assistance if a scenario like this were to arise. Unfortunately, I’m left without many answers at the moment and would have appreciated a better handling of the situation.
Emily D
My son-in-law got bit by a pit bull while doing a quote on kitchen cabinets at the homeowners home. She said she just got him two days before and didn’t know if he had rabies shots so he is having to go through all those shots. And now, the homeowner’s insurance policy says it doesn’t cover dog bites. What action can he take now? He does have a court date for the ticket the homeowner received at that time but don’t know if that will result in them paying his medical bills. Any thoughts?
Evie
My dog just bite my 1 year old nephew and im so sad. I scared that my dog might be taken away and put down. He has all his shots. He did it because he was scared i know this. We were all sitting on my bed and my dog was at the end of the bed. While my nephew sat on my lap he crawled off and then hopped up and grabbed my dog. My dog in return bite him because he was scared. I just looked away for second. And it happen he was biten underneath his right eye . And it is bruised and red. Looks like a huge scratch. My sister is so mad at me and my poor Mister Pickles. I dont know what is going to happen now. I dont know what i should do.
Leah Cox
My roommate has her first dog and can be pretty irresponsible with him. today she told me she was going to put him on his yard chord for a bit while she did homework. I was cleaning the bathroom and thought she meant she was going to do homework in her room or on the porch. she actually left the house without telling me and left him outside on his chord so I was the only one home without knowing it. A little while later like fifteen minutes I went downstairs and saw a package on the porch. While I was pulling it in the dog ran around the corner of the house (still on his chord ) , I was surprised to see him and even more surprised when he suddenly started barking at a man passing our house then he bit him on his bum ! I couldn’t see clearly a bush was blocking my vision but I dropped everything and grabbed his chord while apologizing . The guy was yelling at me about the dog and freaking out. I put the dogs inside and went and talked to the man to ask if I could do anything if he needed anything he said no but called animal control. I don’t want to be held liable for my roommates dog but I was told by animal control that I will be held responsible since I was the only one home. I’m at a loss I really am .
Nguyen
My dog was in another persons care for a week. During that time my dog bite a 8yr old while eating. The kid knows not to approach the dog while eating but did so anyways. Can they actually sue me and win if the dog was not in my care?
venessa Oliveira
I have a 3 year old pit bull< who has been like a brother to my two kids, and a therapist to me for my PTS. my last son born was when as a puppy we got the dog he slept with the boys and I. harmless in fact people say he is a chicken for a pit. now my boys play rough with the dog growing up 2010 we got the dog in 2014 my son was rough housing and gunner bit well it was more of a scratch on his nose, no stitches needed but hospital made a report. and in 2017 my friend child was over play with my son while her mom went to work, the kids played for 2 hours and the moment I step in the garage to put something away I heard a bark came in and my dog bite my friends child. now they took my dog quanintine 6 days cause I started the 4 but never gave him back took me to court the first hearing they judge agreed with pound to kill the dog. now my appeal is coming however its been one month my dog has been in a gaged no site of outside. this has been a real fight . they don't follow codes or ordinance of our county , the judge did not act bias or legal for he denied me a appeal said he was the appeal. he was the only judge would see at the appeal and his order would be the same. not true my the codes and guidelines to the state, it states that be a different judge
Josie Gil
Whatever happened?
Is he back home?
cebrina dosher
What if my chaweenie bit my 6 year old in the face just below the eye? They were relaxing on the recliner together then when my daughter tried to reposition the dog snapped at her, she has snapped before but never bitten her, just enough of a snap to say leave me alone, but today it was completely unprovoked. I am heart broken because I don’t want to give her up, but how can I trust her now….
Haley M Holm
Well, fist you have to watch his behavior as well as your 6 year old because sometimes it could be the dog or the child. Dogs can since things humans can’t so he was probably thinking and when she moved him he got scared and did the only thing he could. Which unfortunately is be protective and bite.
Christopher Lee Richardson I
I have a Service Animal who bit someone after a room full of people witnessed this person attack me. Dora,(Beagle Pit-Bull mix) did nothing until my wife pushed both me and the attacker away from each other,causing me and the attacker to fall to the ground. That’s when Dora bit both him 2x and me once. There was a police officer standing next to the owner of the establishment and witnessed the whole ordeal, and did not even question me after the ordeal, nor did he write a police report. However, he owner of the establishment has banned my Service Animal but not me. What do I do now? What precautions should I take? What recourse do I have?
Haley M Holm
Well, first you should always make sure your dog has his/her vaccines, next you have to train your dog, on how and when to attack on your command.
Jason Dolling
I’ve had my rescue dog for 9 years she is a jack Russel cross fox terrier. She is the most loyal and loving dog. I feel she is very well trained, she has one flaw which is she is not good with other dogs due to her being abused as a puppy. She has got better but it’s been hard. My dog was in my inlaws garden and someone walked in the garden and the dog barked at him then jump at him and nipped him, everyone made such a commotion that the dog got more frightened and kept barking and growling once I got to the situation with a stern command she sat down and was fine and even licked the guy she nipped. She has since had strangers walk into the house and she has been so nice and not done a thing. I’m am confused with this and my partner is scared as we are expecting a baby soon. Not sure what I can say or do so help the situation.
Haley M Holm
Your dog has suffered ptsd. Your dog got scared and wanted to provide protection for you. You have no reason to worry because your dog is loyal to you and will always come to your aid. Since he hasn’t done anything that means he’s scared your going to hurt him so he stays quiet. You need to slowly show him you love and care for him.
Paulette
My Bear, 3 year old German Shepherd male bit a neighbor about two years ago. The neighbor walked into our back yard, the dog barked and growled , but the neighbor opened the gate and came in anyway. He was bitten in the arm, which required stitches. Animal control was called and Bear was quarantined for ten days. The neighbor felt awful, realizing he shouldn’t have come in the yard after Bear’s warning. After this happened, I got trainers and worked with Bear, doing everything suggested. Inside the house with me, he is the sweetest dog in the world. Fast forward two years, to today – Bear bit another neighbor in the arm. This time it was an elderly lady, who was talking to me over the fence. Bear lunged up and bit her for no reason. After talking to trainers again, they all think he is too protective/possessive of me, and there’s nothing I can do to correct this. They think if he was in a new home with me out of his life, he would be fine. Is this possible? Can I be his issue? And how on earth could I rehome him to anyone, knowing he could bite them as well?
Courtney
I was as at the park yesterday sitting in a chair reading while my Aussie/Border Collie was laying on the ground next to me. She was on a leash. A little girl came running up to her to while making loud noises (kinda sounded like growling) and then proceeded to wrap both of her hands around my dog’s muzzle and put her face right up to my dog’s mouth. When she let go, my dog lunged at her and left a tooth mark just abouve her lip. Luckily, the mom doesn’t seem too upset. I gave her all of information, plus a copy of my dog’s rabies tags. I put my dog in the car while I was taking care of all of this. The whole time the little girl and her brother were going up to my window and telling my dog how bad and ugly it was. The mom also commented that the dog must not be used to children. I have four kids so the dog is around children most of the day. My dog has never acted aggressively toward anyone. It’s frustrating because I kinda feel like that girl attacked my dog. I didn’t say this to the mom. I apologized profusely and offered to pay for any medical bills. I was embarrassed, but also frustrated because people need to teach their kids how to act around dogs they don’t know. It has really upset me especially since I feel like I shouldn’t take my dog back to that park. Any advice? Thanks!
Crystal m
So please some one help me! My dog just bit someone that can take her in for the time being. And he claims she bit through his hand. Enough to go to the hospital. And she doesn’t have her shots yet. I’m trying to abide by what it says here by remaining calm and kind and nice. And hoping that he doesn’t press charges. I’m offering to pay his medical bills and all of that. But please someone help me. I’m at my wits end!
Adam
I have an 8 year old rescue dog named Zeus. He’s a Pit Bull mix. One day while I was not home, my roommate was sitting with my dog out on the front porch and out of nowhere attacked a dog being walked by her owner. The owner tried to force Zeus to let go by forcing her hands into his mouth and he bit her hand enough to draw blood. Eventually my neighbors broke up the fight. The owner took down my roommate’s contact info as well as our address but we did not get her contact info. Today an officer knocks on my door asking to speak with my roommate but he’s not home so I take down the officer’s contact info and relay that to my roommate. The officer also said that this was considered a dog bite. This incident happened 8 days ago and the 10 day quarantine period is almost up (even though no one has told me that Zeus needed to be quarantined). The police also said that they have made attempts to contact the owner but she has been unresponsive. The question I have is: is there a chance that Zeus may have to be put down. And, how do my roommate and I deal with a lawsuit if the owner decides to sue. We’re both poor college students and do not have the money to hire a good attorney.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Joyce Pippen
My dog bit someone 6mo. ago and now they have sent a letter from a lawyer. They never approached us about any medical. At the time he said that he didn’t know if my dog or his dog had bitten him because he was trying to break up the dog fight. Since then I have put our dog down.
Wes
My neighbors dog bit me and even though it scared me I said it was ok because I like the dog. It has all shots and that but I did go to the doctor and had to fill out a report for the state about the dog bite. I do t want anything to happen to the dog which now I feel aweful about going to the doctors. Why do they fill out those poets if you do t want to file a report. They said I had to.
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 draw blood and did not stop the first time we called. We live in a rural area without much traffic, is it possible she was confused and just trying to defend her home? I’m very upset this happened, she does not mind very well but for some reason listens to me better than my brother.
Deb
My daughter and son in law have a 2 year old Doberman, the dog has nipped once and bitten twice just enough to break the skin, also has bitten my granddaughter 2 days ago she lives with the dog as well, just enough to lightly break the skin around her ear she is walking an is 14 months old, what is a grandmother to do? I think that the dog has had enough chances and should be gone. Any one have a better answer
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 that he will be seeking legal. I am at a loss here. I feel that he is using this situation to futher his gains. What recourse do I have?
Kimberly Alt
If you have a homeowner’s or renter’s policy you should turn the information over to the insurance company and let them defend you (that’s what they’re there for). There are some states where insurance policies exclude dog bites from their coverage. Hopefully, your policy covers dog bites, though.
Abby
I really didn’t want to have to use my homeowners. But it looks like he isn’t going to give me a choice. Thanks for your help.
Ali
Abby how did this turn out? I have had something very similar just happen. The accident happened right by my mailbox, no blood, but the victim is an old man who is very scared of all dogs said he would puke just being by one.
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, but I was viciously attacked 2 weeks ago…lots of blood, puncture wounds and went to ER. These people in my case are cold hearted individuals.
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, his arm had that big scar because of my dog’s teeth. my family wont let me keep this dog anymore and nobody trusts this dog except me but i will call cops and they will deal with my dog maybe they will kill him, i will miss him but… i am sorry my doggie.
Kimberly Alt
I’m so sorry this is happening. Our thoughts are with you.
J Alm
How sad your dog was chained up all day. That was abusive.
colton
Not if the dog jumps fences and bites people.
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 the UPS truck and drove off. The next thing i know is i hear loud banging and knocking on my front door. Me being a minor i was scared to open the door because i thought it couldn’t have been UPS because they had just come. I waited about 10 minutes for the person to go away and finally i went downstairs to see maybe who it was and i saw the UPS truck parked down the street and the guy getting in and i see a note on my door saying “We will file a police report for your dog biting UPS.” Mind you i’m a minor so I am very scared. What do i do?
Kimberly Alt
I’m sorry this has happened. Our tips are outlined in our article. If you think UPS is going to file charges, you should seek legal advice. We know this is no picnic and hope all is resolved. Please keep us posted and we wish you luck.