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Home Pet Q&A Dog Questions What Should You Do If Your Dog Bites Someone?

What Should You Do If Your Dog Bites Someone?

If your dog bites someone, immediately remove your dog from the situation and be prepared to follow the laws in your jurisdiction. This may include quarantining the dog, especially if you cannot produce proof of current vaccines. Depending on your jurisdiction and the circumstances surrounding the bite, you may be subject to civil and criminal liability and, in some cases, the dog could be removed from your home.

Dog Bite Laws and Owners' Liability 

It's a situation no dog owner ever wants to face, but if your dog bites someone, you'll need to be prepared for what could happen next. Some things to consider: 

Your Jurisdiction's Laws

Some jurisdictions have a one-bite law rule which minimizes or eliminates the owners' liability for a dog that has not previously shown signs of aggression. Other places have strict liability laws which make owners fully liable even if the owner could not have prevented the incident. 

The Circumstances

A bite from a dog who was allowed to roam free will carry different consequences than a bite that occurred during a break in. How and why the bite happened will have a major impact on your liability and on what will happen to the dog. 

Victims Liability

Was the dog-bite victim taunting your dog, attacking you, or entering your yard or home without permission? In cases like that, the victim will share or bear full responsibility for the incident. 

Previous Incidents

If your dog has bitten someone in the past, there is a more of a chance you'll be liable and, in some cases, more of a chance that the dog will be seized and possibly euthanized. Following a dog bite incident, contact a lawyer who specializes in such cases. Even if it's clear the victim was at fault, you'll still want a lawyer to help you navigate the process that is to come.  

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