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How to Report a Dog Bite



Dog bites can range from mildly painful to deadly. They can happen quickly and unexpectedly. While you would think that most dog bites come from stray animals, a significant portion of reported dog bites come from the pets of friends and families. This makes reporting the dog bite a challenging situation.


What do I do if a dog bites me?

It’s important to know that in California, it is mandatory for both the injured party as well as the dog owner to report the bite. California has strict liability laws that state that the owner of the dog is responsible for its actions regardless of whether there is history or not. Reporting the bite also helps start a paper trail to document the damages you have incurred.


It’s just a small bite, do I go to a doctor?

Absolutely. Even if it doesn’t appear to break the skin. Dog’s mouths have a variety of bacteria that should be cleaned from the wound. A doctor will be able to sanitize and clean the wound as well as establish the extent of the damage done by the bite.


What else should I do?

Get as much information as you can about the dog, its history, and its owner’s information. Take photographs of the wound and write down the details of the encounter as you remember it. You’ll want to get the dog’s vet records to make sure it’s had rabies shots. If it’s a stray dog, be sure to check with the local health department.


Where should I report the bite?

Call 911 if the bite is serious. For minor bites, your local police station or local animal control is the first place to start. You’re also required to contact your local country health officer.

California doesn’t have a “one bite rule.” This means that the owner doesn’t have to be notified of the aggressive behavior to be held responsible. But there are other laws to protect an owner, which is why it’s worth it to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Having someone experienced coaching you through the steps and ramifications of a dog bite can make all the difference.


If you have been injured by a dog bite, contact the Law Offices of Tanya Gomerman. Call 415-545-8608to schedule a FREE consultation to discuss your case.

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