The dog population in the U.S. is currently between 83 million and 88 million, as reported by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). With that many canines living among people, dog bites are bound to happen. Any dog can bite, regardless of breed, age, or gender. If you or your child has been bitten, it may be reassuring to know that not all dogs who bite a person are put down.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bites?
If a dog attacks you or your child, get the name and contact information for the animal’s owner, if possible, and take the following steps:
- The first priority is treatment for any injuries. Clean and apply first aid to the wound and seek medical attention if necessary. Dog bites that puncture the skin can lead to serious infections.
- Next, report the incident to your local animal control or law enforcement. Provide all the information you can about the dog, including the owner’s name and contact information if you have it. Describe the breed, size, and color of the dog, and if you have seen it previously, tell them when and where. Provide the details of where the incident occurred and how serious the attack was.
- Animal control will try to locate the dog, determine whether its rabies vaccinations are up-to-date, and provide you with that important information.
What Happens to a Dog that Bites a Person?
What happens to a dog after it attacks a person can depend partly on whether the owner or the dog’s veterinarian has proof of up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Although it is required by law, some people never have their pets vaccinated, or don’t keep their vaccinations current. Many strays have never been vaccinated.
If animal control can locate the dog that bit you and its owner, it will investigate to determine if the dog needs to be quarantined. Dogs, cats, or ferrets that attack or bite a person are required to be quarantined for at least 10 days afterwards at the expense of the owner, under South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control regulations at Section 47-5-100. During the quarantine, which could be at the home of the owner or an animal shelter, a licensed veterinarian or rabies control officers or their assistants must be permitted to examine the animal at any time and observe to determine if shows any symptoms of rabies.
For dogs, cats, and ferrets suspected of having rabies, the state may order the owner to have the animal quarantined under specific conditions. In the worst case scenario, it may order that the dog be immediately put down, and the brain submitted for rabies examination. Under state law, euthanasia must be performed by a licensed veterinarian or technician, using specific drugs, in a humane manner.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
After a serious dog attack, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced Charleston personal injury attorney as soon as possible. South Carolina has strict liability dog bite laws. If a dog bit you, unless the animal was provoked, the owner is liable for your injuries and damages. If you are concerned about the dog being euthanized, we can request on your behalf that the animal not be put down.
Allen Law is a well-respected South Carolina personal injury law firm. Our founding attorney, Julian Allen, is a former insurance defense lawyer with a thorough understanding of both sides of the law. If you or your child has been seriously injured in a dog attack, call us today to schedule a free consultation at (843) 882-5005.