Should a person call the police after being attacked by a dog?
Yes, unless the bite has caused very superficial damage which can be treated by simple first aid. Depending on the circumstances, it can still be a good idea to report the incident within 24 hours to local animal officials as you may not be the first person the dog has bitten and the owner may need to be informed about the dog’s behavior or be made aware it is on the loose.
Call police or 911 if any of the things listed here are happening
Someone should call authorities right away:
- if injuries are so severe they appear to be life-threatening
- if the dog is still in the area acting aggressively
- if there is a question about the dog’s history of rabies vaccinations
- if someone involved in the attack has significant blood loss, has suffered severing of a body part, or cannot move or feel parts of their body
A dog bite has a very high risk of getting infected, causing nerve damage, or transmitting various diseases to humans some of which are life-threatening. People who have a severe disease such as cancer, where therapies can compromise the immune system, those suffering from lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, AIDS, or recipients of organ transplants are at a higher risk for developing disease after a bite wound
Calling the authorities also accomplishes three important things:
It gets the emergency medical care needed. When you contact the police, be clear that the bite victim needs immediate medical care so the dispatcher can call an ambulance.
It makes sure the attack has been reported. Police may come to the scene if the dog is out of control and is likely to hurt others and may even file criminal charges against the owner.
It complies with public health and safety regulations and allows the health department to become involved.
A fourth benefit could be that a police report is an official document that will describe what happened the way the victim said it happened. If you choose to file a lawsuit so you can be compensated for any injuries from this attack, the police report will provide evidence for your case.
Other documentation that could be needed in a dog attack
According to Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-28, if you are the victim of a dog bite or bite from another mammal, a bite incident report should be filled out and filed with the health commissioner in the district where the bite occurred. The local health jurisdiction then completes a rabies exposure risk assessment. Go to odh.ohio.gov, the Ohio Department of Health website, if you do not know what health district you are located in and enter your address and zip code.
Ohio law maintains that if the victim does not file a bite report form (found online on the local health department website in most communities), your healthcare provider or a veterinarian with knowledge of the bite must do so. Rabies testing is done by ODH’s Bureau of Public Health Laboratory which tests 4,000 to 5,000 specimens per year.
Submission guidelines for the tests are available on the Ohio Department of Health website. Test results are reported to the local health department or the agency submitting the specimen. Rabies-positive animals are reported to the health department’s Zoonotic Disease Program.
If you are advised to undergo post-exposure treatment for rabies known as Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (RPEP), be aware that it is expensive. Some who have had the treatment reported expenses in the thousands of dollars. If your insurance does not cover this treatment or if you cannot afford to pay for it, mention this to medical personnel immediately as there are programs that can help you pay for this treatment.
Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases that can spread from animals to humans. They are transmitted in three ways– directly, indirectly by inhalation, ingestion, or contact with animal products, soil, water, or other surfaces contaminated with animal waste or by contact with a dead animal.
Zoonotic diseases can also be vector-borne requiring a mosquito, a tick, or other arthropod to transmit the disease. Some diseases caused by these types of transfers are Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and the West Nile virus.
The animal control officer can also provide important documentation to the bite victim. Part of his or her job is to protect the community from dangerous animals. The officer can find out who owns a dog and determine if the county has records on the animal. He or she can take statements from dog owners and their neighbors and inquire about any prior history of viciousness.
The officer will also try to ascertain if the dog’s owner had “actual knowledge” of the dog’s disposition and propensity to bite. The bite record could become important in court and in determining the fate of the animal.
If for some reason, an animal control officer is not cooperative about providing information for legal purposes, it can be obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Classification of dogs in Ohio
There are three designations of dogs under Ohio law—nuisance dogs, dangerous dogs, and vicious dogs.
A “nuisance dog” is one that chases people and attempts to bite or otherwise endanger people while off its premises. It may also approach a person in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack. A “dangerous dog” is one that causes injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person; has killed another dog or is caught running loose three times or more. A “vicious dog” is a dog that kills or causes serious injury to a person. Any dog can be a nuisance, dangerous, or vicious dog. These labels do not define any particular breed of dog although ordinances in several Ohio communities do not permit residents to own certain types of dogs.
The designations do not apply to police dogs performing their official duties nor do they apply to dogs that bite during or after they have been teased or tormented or if they are apprehending trespassers.
Owners of dogs who have been deemed a nuisance, vicious or dangerous animal must meet several requirements to maintain ownership of the animal. Among the things the owners may be required to do are: confine and restrain the dog on their premises; obtain liability insurance; post clearly visible signs on their property warning about the presence of the dog; provide authorities with proof they have the dog neutered or spayed and have the dog wear a tag at all times labeling it as a “dangerous dog” or whatever the case may be.
Contacting a dog bite attorney
If you need assistance with a dog attack issue, you should consider hiring a dog bite lawyer to help you. The dog does not have to actually bite you for you to be able to file a claim against the owner’s insurance company. You can seek compensation for other harm caused by a dog. For example, if you were riding your bike and a dog jumped on you and knocked you to the ground injuring you, this would be a valid claim.
If the dog actually does bite you penetrating the skin, you may need to be concerned about disease issues. Clean the wound and see a doctor right away.
Then call Slater & Zurz to discover more about your rights and what compensation is considered fair and adequate. Slater & Zurz law firm has offices in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus. Call now to speak with a dog bite lawyer for a FREE initial consultation to discuss the details of your case. The verdicts and settlements they have obtained for dog bite clients and others in their many years of practice throughout the state are very impressive.