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Vicious Dogs and Dog Attacks

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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The topic of vicious dogs in relation to breed specific laws has been source of debate in many communities throughout the U.S. Vicious or dangerous dogs, regardless of their breed, (by our definition) are dogs that without provocation, have attacked or behaved in a terrorizing or dangerous manner. Laws regarding vicious dogs vary by community and can include restrictions on housing, posting of warning signs, muzzles, leash length restrictions, training and sterilization, and additional insurance coverage for liability purposes.

Local courts provide injured parties the opportunity to file for damages and pursue compensation, including veterinary and medical bills, court costs, and other damages if an out-of-court settlement cannot be reached between the parties. Some communities have clauses within their legislation that will also allow a biting dog's owner certain rights if their dog has bitten only once, depending on the severity of the injury and the circumstances involved. However, if a dog bites more than once or the attack is severe, courts may instill harsher penalties that can include ownership restrictions, confiscation and/or mandatory euthanasia of the dog, fines, and imprisonment. The laws in each community and state can vary greatly, so be sure to contact your local government officials to find out the specific dog laws in your area. You may also want to contact your local animal control office for additional resources or information.

Much like when two owners are involved in an automobile accident, it is important when a dog attack (dog/human or dog/dog) occurs to remain calm, gather information and seek medical or veterinary attention as soon as possible.

  • Seek medical or veterinary attention for any injured parties. Call 911 if a person is seriously injured. If your dog is injured, seek veterinary care.

  • Exchange owner name(s), dog name(s), addresses, and phone numbers. Ask for the name of the dog's veterinarian and the dog's vaccination status.

  • Make detailed notes about the event and anything leading up to the event.

  • If there were witnesses to the attack, get their names and phone numbers in case a statement needs to be made.

  • If the dangerous dog is running loose call your local animal control officer to report the dog. Be able to give a complete description of the dog and the area and direction the dog was roaming.

  • Contact local government officials and you local animal control office to find out more information on the dog laws in your area.

  • Contact legal representation if necessary.

    For more information on State Dog Laws Click here

    For a discussion on dog bite laws Click here

    Please keep in mind that the site (PetPlace.com) is for reference, NOT for legal or medical consultation. Never disregard veterinary advice or delay in seeking it as a result of information provided on PetPlace.com. If your pet is showing any signs of distress or you suspect your pet is seriously ill, CONTACT YOUR VETERINARIAN immediately. If you or someone else has been injured or attacked by a dog, please seek medical attention immediately.


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