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Americans love dogs. More than half of American households own a dog. Though dogs can provide great companionship and love, some dogs are less friendly than others. Some dogs are more prone to biting, which can severely injure humans or other dogs.
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury from a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our San Antonio dog bite lawyers.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
How to Report a Dog Bite in San Antonio
Texas law requires that all animal bites or scratches that cause a noticeable break in the skin be reported to Animal Care Services. If you have been bitten by a dog, you should dial 3-1-1 to report the bite as soon as possible. You may also call Animal Control Services during their regular business hours. They are open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in San Antonio
After getting bit by a dog, you should seek medical care. There are many types of dog bites, but seeing a medical professional may help ensure you get the right type of care for the bite. Treatment may vary based on several factors, such as the location of the bite, the extent of the bite, the size of the dog, and your general health.
If you are unable to get to a hospital, you should first cover your injury with a clean towel to stop the bleeding. You should immediately wash the bite with soap and water. If you have antibiotic ointment, be sure to apply it daily. Finally, cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
If at-home treatment is not enough because your wound won’t stop bleeding, your tissue has been damaged, or your wound has been infected, you should seek emergency medical treatment right away.
You should also consider speaking with an experienced dog bite attorney if you plan to seek compensation for your injuries. Filing a dog bite claim can be complicated, so having an experienced lawyer on your side may put you in the best position to seek damages from the responsible dog owner.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Dog Bite Injury
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Dangers of Dog Bites
Dog bites can range from minor to extremely severe. Besides the pain of the bite itself and the wounds that follow, bites also pose a high risk of infection. Although dog bites can be dangerous, they are often preventable. You should follow the following protocols to avoid dog bites:
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Use Caution When Petting Someone’s Dog
Most of us are naturally inclined to pet a dog that we see at the park or on the sidewalk. However, do not assume that a dog will not bite just because it looks friendly and cute. It is a common misconception that only aggressive breeds, such as pit bulls, are capable of attacking strangers, but this is not necessarily true. Dogs do not necessarily bite because they are aggressive. They may also bite because of fear.
Read More: Dog Bite Statistics
Ask for Permission to Pet Someone Else’s Dog
If you see a dog that you are unfamiliar with, do not approach it. If the dog is with an owner and the owner tells you that it is okay to pet the dog, only then should you pet the dog.
Do Not Interfere with Dogs When They Are Eating
Dogs are especially protective when they are eating. If you provoke a dog while it is eating, it may become defensive and bite.
Do Not Interfere with Female Dogs and Their Puppies
Mothers instinctively protect their puppies. If you try to touch a newborn puppy in front of its mother, it may spark that instinct and cause the mother to bite.
Back Away Slowly
If a dog is being aggressive towards you, do not run away or scream, as both can escalate the situation. Stay still until the dog loses interest, then back away slowly from the dog.
Read More: Dog Bite Prevention
Though the risk of rabies transmission is small and most dogs are vaccinated, you should nevertheless always be on alert. If you have been bitten by a dog that does not belong to you, you should ask the dog’s owner for proof of rabies vaccination.
If the dog owner does not provide you proof of vaccination, you should call Animal Control Services because the owner will need to voluntarily quarantine the dog until it can be verified the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. If the owner refuses to voluntarily quarantine the dog, the government can force a quarantine.
Why File a Dog Bite Report?
Filing a San Antonio dog bite report is important to help make sure that your fellow citizens and community are safe. Upon obtaining information that a dangerous dog exists, officers from Animal Control Services will investigate. Before Animal Control can truly begin investigating, they need a notarized affidavit that describes the dog bite incident. Thus, a dog bite report is essential for Animal Control Services officers to begin their work.
Create a Record of the Incident
Like in any other personal injury lawsuit, you need evidence of the actual injury to have a viable claim. A dog bite report may support your claim. A dog bite report will include the testimony of the victim, the dog owner, and witnesses. If you need to file a lawsuit or an insurance claim, this report will be invaluable. You may also want to take photos of your injuries and the scene of the bite to support your claim.
Indicate Previous Incidents
If you do not file a dog bite report, the offending dog may go on to bite more people without any consequences. When a dog bite report is filed, however, Animal Control conducts an investigation to determine whether the dog should be classified as dangerous or aggressive. Once a pet owner is on notice that their dog has a tendency to bite, they may be held liable for future attacks.
Read More: Who’s to Blame in a Dog Bite Case?
Dog bite reports are also important as they can provide a warning to other members of your community. Essentially, it works as a public service advisory that a dangerous dog is in the area.
What is a Dangerous Dog?
San Antonio has an ordinance that provides a legal definition of “dangerous dog.”
According to the ordinance, a dangerous dog is one that makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury. The attack must also occur outside the enclosure in which the dog was being kept. The enclosure must also have been reasonably secured so that the dog could not leave the enclosure on its own. Furthermore, even if the dog does not actually cause injury, if commits unprovoked acts that an individual could reasonably believe would result in injury, this could be enough to label the dog a dangerous dog.
What is an Aggressive Dog?
San Antonio also has an ordinance that defines “aggressive dog.” There is a difference between “dangerous dog” and “aggressive dog.” An aggressive dog is a dog that has been legally deemed aggressive because of the dog’s specific behaviors. Aggressive dogs may be classified into three levels, which are based on the severity of the dog’s aggressive characteristics: level 1, level 2, and level 3.
There are two ways the level 1 label can be applied to a dog. If the dog is restrained, the dog can be labeled as a level 1 aggressive dog if the dog can cause a reasonable person to fear the dog will engage in an unprovoked attack and cause bodily injury to that person. If the dog is unrestrained, the dog can be labeled as a level 1 aggressive dog if the dog chases or displays other threatening and unprovoked behavior that can endanger the safety of domestic animals.
A level 2 aggressive dog is a dog that actually causes physical injury to any domestic animal or livestock while unrestrained.
A level 3 aggressive dog is a dog that kills any domestic animal or livestock while unrestrained. A level 3 label can also apply to a level 2 aggressive dog if the dog has injured a domestic animal or livestock on at least two occasions and the owner of the dog knows that dog has already been classified as a level 2 aggressive dog.
Legal Consequences of Owning a Dangerous Dog or an Aggressive Dog
It is important to realize that there are legal consequences of owning a dangerous or aggressive dog.
If you own a dangerous or aggressive dog some of the consequences may include:
- The dog must be licensed
- The dog must wear a special collar identifying the dog as being dangerous
- The dog must be kept in a secured enclosure
- The dog must be muzzled when outside the enclosure
- The dog must be microchipped and neutered/spayed
- The owner of a dangerous dog must purchase a $100,000 liability insurance policy to make sure he or she can pay for the potentially dangerous acts of his or her dog
If a dangerous or aggressive dog is caught by the San Antonio Animal Control Services and does not have an owner, the dog will be euthanized and also tested for rabies.
CONTACT A SAN ANTONIO DOG BITE LAWYER
The experienced dog bite attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your dog bite claim. After you have filed your San Antonio dog bite report, our attorneys may help advise you on the best way to seek compensation for your injuries. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case.
Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our San Antonio dog bite lawyers.
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