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What Happens If My Dog Bites Someone

We all love our dogs. To many of us, we love them like our children. They are our loyal companions who love us unconditionally. It’s hard to imagine our dogs could hurt anyone. Unfortunately, over 800,000 dog bites occur in the United States every year. If you have a dog, you need to be aware of what happens to you and your dog if your dog bites someone.

Your Liability
If your dog bites someone who is on public property or lawfully on private property, you are liable for the damage caused by your dog. You are responsible even the person was on your property and/or your dog has never exhibited any vicious behavior before.

Likewise, you will not be liable if the person your dog bit was not lawfully present on the private property when the incident occurred. For example, if your dog bites a burglar who illegally enters your home, you will not be liable for the burglar’s injuries.

Known Aggressive Dog
If you know that your dog is aggressive or vicious, you are obligated by Arizona law to keep your dog in an enclosed area and to prevent your dog from attacking any person or animal when your dog is in public. It is illegal for you to do things like take your dog to a dog park and let it off the leash where it could attack someone or another dog.

After Your Dog Bites
If your dog bites someone, it has to be quarantined for 10 days to observe it for rabies. If your dog has not been vaccinated for rabies, it must be quarantined at a county pound or veterinary hospital. If your dog has been vaccinated, it can be quarantined at your residence.

If your dog bites a person, you are required to report the incident to the proper county enforcement agent. Maricopa County Animal Care and Control (MCACC) is the designated agent in Maricopa County. It investigates all dog bite incidents, but it does not have the authority to permanently take your dog from you.

If You Have Been Bitten
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may file a vicious dog petition in city or justice court. The judge may require the owner to muzzle the dog in public or to keep it enclosed in the home area. The judge has the authority to return the dog to the owner or to order the dog to be euthanized.

If you have been bitten by a dog, Arizona law gives you up to two years to file your claim against the owner for damages.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, please contact the Phoenix personal injury lawyers at the personal injury law firm Oracle Law Group today.

Photo credit: Julia Gregg from Flickr