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What are an owner's obligations to me if their dog bites me?

A dog doesn't have to be born mad to snap at and bite someone. Instead, it may not feel well, be poorly trained or be provoked. In most every dog owner's mind, there's a fear in the back of their mind that their dog may one day bite someone.

In a situation as flustering as that, there's a strong chance that the owner wouldn't know how to handle the situation. After a dog bite, most legal experts would advise the dog owner to keep calm. If the biting incident were to happen in someone's home, then they'd be advised to immediately remove their dog to another room in their home or to confine it to a crate.

After doing this, they'd be urged to turn their attention you, the bite victim. They'd also advise the dog owner to be attentive to your needs, which may include helping you wash your wound, taking you to see a doctor or calling for an ambulance. It may even be reasonable to expect a dog owner to contact your loved ones on your behalf to let them know what's happened.

Legal experts would also warn dog owners not to be accusatory in their tone towards you. They'd say to avoid doing this because it could adversely impact the outcome of any personal injury lawsuit you may file to recover damages if they treat you negatively.

As the victim, you'd also likely be told to give the dog owner your contact information and for you to get theirs as well as that of any witnesses to the incident. Getting insurance information for the dog owner is equally important.

It's also critical for you to make contact with police to report the incident as soon as possible so that you can follow the proper steps required by your jurisdiction.

In the days after the incident, it's likely that the dog owner will call their veterinarian to request their dog's health and vaccination records. They'll need this when contacted by animal control to show proof that their dog has been vaccinated against rabies. If they can't produce this documentation, then their dog may be quarantined or, if labeled as "dangerous," euthanized.

If you've been bitten by someone else's pet, then a Detroit dog bites attorney can advise you of your rights to file a lawsuit to recover medical costs and other non-medical damages you have experienced.

Source: The Spruce, "What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone," Jenna Stregowski, Feb. 15, 2018

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