When Should Dog Bites be Reported

Dog bites happen relatively often, many go unreported, people are often at a loss to know if a dog bite should be reported or not, and if so, to whom.

 

Rule One:

If the skin is broken rabies can be a concern (unless in a country where rabies does not exist, such as in the United Kingdom). Bites where the skin is broken should always be reported, especially when the dogs has not had a rabies shot in the last year, or when its vaccination history is unknown.

That’s it.  All other dog bites are a judgment call on if they should be reported or not. Of course there are many cases where a bite “should” be reported but are not, and many times when people panic about a reported bite and put whole breeds of dogs at risk from being exterminated even if they are not mean at all. Read more about cities that have killed family dogs simply because of their breed – click here.

Suggestion:

If hospitalization occurs, as when bites are so bad they require stitching, or further serious damage is done to a victim.  This can be in cases where the vaccination history of the dog is known, but reporting allows the victim the chance to sue the dog’s owner if it is a case where the owner was negligent.  This is more of a suggestion - than a Rule.  In this case the person reporting the bite should take into consideration if they caused the bite, or if the dog’s owner was at fault.

 

Of course most people do not report dog bites made by the family pet on a family member. For this reason we often hear news stories of “Pit Bull Attacks Stranger” but not “Chihuahua Bites Owner”, that, and the sensational effect of envisioning a big dog attacking somebody.

 

Most people who are bit by their own dog will simply go to their doctor. If the dog has not been vaccinated there are extra steps (a rabies hold – it does not mean the dog is killed) that should be followed. As well the dogs training should be addressed later.

 

Pet owners do need to take bites by their own pets more seriously. There are three problems when dogs bite – the dog, the owner, and the person bitten.

File:Dog bite.JPG

By Nicor [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons – 3 day old dog bite -

The Dog and The Owner

In some cases dogs that bite have not been properly socialized, it may think it is dominant, or has food issues which have not been addressed. In other cases the dog is an intelligent breed but not being given enough mental stimulation so is frustrated and communicating with its mouth. While it is the dog who has the problem, the problems are the result of an owner error, or failure, sometimes even the wrong breed of dog was selected. Intact male dogs, are more likely to bite, but there are many other reasons that dogs are likely to bite.

The Person Bitten

Often times the one who was bitten shares some of the blame. This is very much the case when children are bitten – their squealing voices, random behaviors, or smothering the dog, irritate the animal and while most dogs give warnings, children fail to see or understand those warnings and in turn get bit.

Most dogs do not bite without provocation, however in our human world we do not even allow for bites under these circumstances and many dogs, even those provoked into biting will be euthanized.

 

Be Aware if you allow your child to crawl on your pet dog, and are one of those who says “My dog is so good my child can crawl on it and it will not bite”, you are setting yourself up for disaster. One day your dog might bite, or worse, one day your child might mishandle some other dog (or other pet) in this disrespectful way.  Read more here on good dogs vs bad kids.

 

Who To Report Bites To

In most areas you report the bite to your local SPCA, or humane society, they will direct you as far as what to do next, which will vary depending if the dog has had up to date vaccinations for rabies. If the dog is not up to date it will be placed on a 10 day rabies hold. If charges are to be laid the police need to be contacted.

I encourage people to think about the bite, rather than feeling anger towards the dog, and its owner. Was the victim provoking the situation? Did the dogs owner do everything to keep their dog from biting (a fenced yard, dog on leash, and so forth)?

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  1. albert1jemi

    On November 14, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    very very important . i think if u get a bit though is deep or not u must immediately rush to doctor

  2. PR Mace

    On November 14, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    You are quite right an dog will bite if put in a bad situation. I love my dogs but I never leave then alone with my granddaughters. I never allow then to get right in my dogs faces or hit or put on then. This was a good article. Well done.

  3. Adrn0919

    On November 14, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    I agree with your article. People and small kids can provoke an attack. I don’t have a pet but I have seen what kids have done that deserved getting bit. Very good article.

  4. Jimmy Shilaho

    On November 14, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    A good reminder on the threat of those domestic pets.

  5. Anuradha Ramkumar

    On November 15, 2010 at 12:52 am

    It’s much needed for me as there are a lot of stray dogs in our area.

  6. kathangisip

    On November 15, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Great share.

  7. papaleng

    On November 15, 2010 at 4:42 am

    Here in our place, majority of the population are now well-educated regarding dog bites and even cat bites. It is now a standard process, that a victim of dog bite must report and subject himself to vaccination.

  8. Souldose

    On November 15, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    My sister got a bite once but it was small, she cried bloody murder

  9. Ruby Hawk

    On November 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I was bitten by a dog and I did report it. The dog was kept penned up and I didn’t have to get rabies injections.

  10. CA Johnson

    On November 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I have never had a dog bite before, but now I know what to do if it ever happens. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  11. Sue

    On September 3, 2011 at 4:40 am

    Should it be reported if a dog bites another dog. I was at a friends home and she has an aggresive dog. It is a large dog. My dog was just sitting next to me minding her own business and the dog went after here. This dog bit her and my dog was extremely upset as I was. Should this dog be reported. Also, it concerns me that my friend lets this dog around children.

  12. Brenda Nelson

    On September 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    to Sue
    If a dog bites another dog it usually is not reported unless the person who owns the dog that was bit wants to press charges or have the other person pay for the vet bills on their dog.
    In your case you brought your dog to that dogs home so naturally it is defensive, since it happened on that dogs home, the law really will not see this as an issue, but if that dog was loose and attacked your dog in a park or something then YES it should be reported.
    Hopefully your friend will socialize her dog more, a dog that bites another dog will not necessarily attack kids.

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