What should you do if your dog is accused of biting someone?
Even if your dog is friendly and has never displayed any vicious tendencies before, there’s always the potential that they can be triggered and react by biting. When your dog bites someone, your initial reactions can range from shock to panic. That type of behavior could possibly be the worst thing you could imagine.
You might be thinking, Are there any legal ramifications? What could this mean for my dog? Could they be taken away from me or put down? What should I do next?
Well, it’s extremely important to take swift action after the bite to make sure the incident does not get out of hand and to avoid liability.
My Dog Bit Someone. Now What?
It’s critical to remain calm, regardless of the severity of the bite. You don’t want to begin an argument with the victim about who’s to blame for the bite. A confrontation may invoke their anger enough to prompt them to sue you and/or ask animal control to euthanize your dog. Being kind and polite is the way to go.
Confine Your Animal
Immediately confine your dog to a kennel, crate, or another room. You could easily lose your dog when the police show up to investigate. The police might haul your dog off to an animal shelter or shoot the dog on sight. But be sure to let the victim know you’re going to confine your dog and come right back.
If you are out and about, find a secure place to put your dog or hitch them to an immovable object, such as a post or a tree.
Offer First Aid and Seek Medical Help
Administer first aid if possible. Clean the wound thoroughly and immediately with mild soap and plenty of water to avoid infection. Pat the wound dry with a clean towel. Then, offer to drive the victim to the hospital to get the bite mark checked and treated, even if the bite does not look that bad.
If the injury is severe, call 911 for emergency medical attention.
Consider offering to cover all the victim’s expenses. This may soften the victim’s resolve when it comes to getting the police involved or hiring a dog bite lawyer to pursue legal action against you.
DO NOT admit it was all your dog’s fault.
Exchange Information with the Victim
You want to make sure you get the victim’s contact information as much as you would after a car accident. Get their name, phone number, email address, and home address.
Along with this, give your contact information to the victim. If there are any witnesses to the dog attack, get their contact information as well. If the case goes to court, their testimony may come in handy.
Notify the Police
While this may seem incriminating, informing local authorities of the incident and obtaining a police report are important. This will squash any potential false claims that may be brought up by the victim in court.
Collect Relevant Paperwork
Make copies of your dog’s medical and vaccination records and give them to the victim. This will put their minds at ease, knowing they probably don’t have to seek additional treatment for canine diseases.
Seek Legal Counsel
To protect yourself and your pet from a legal standpoint, it’s important to contact a Florida dog bite defense attorney for legal advice.
In Florida, a dog owner is liable for damages if the dog bites a person unprovoked while on public property or lawfully on someone’s private property, as stipulated by Florida Legislature Section 767.04. This applies regardless of the dog’s biting history or previous display of aggression.
If the victim, however, taunted the dog, provoked it on purpose, or otherwise engaged in behavior that would make the dog overly excitable, afraid, or aggressive, the owner may be protected from legal responsibility. This also applies if the victim was trespassing on private property or the owner has a “dangerous dog” sign on their property.
An attorney can assess the facts of your case and let you know the proper steps moving forward. If the victim files a lawsuit against you, an attorney can fully explain your defenses and help protect your rights.
Our dog bite defense attorney at The Goodwin Firm understands how important it is to approach your case correctly. We are dedicated to answering any questions you have, explaining your pet’s rights and defense options, and providing a plan of action if your case is headed for trial.