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Can a Dog Be Euthanized as the Result of a Lawsuit?

Posted on August 15th, 2022

Euthanasia is a humane medical procedure that painlessly ends an animal’s life. While dogs are typically euthanized near the end of their natural lives, there are some situations where the animal may undergo this procedure after it bites or attacks someone. If you are the victim of a dog attack, you may wonder if your lawsuit could lead to the death of the animal that bit you.

Filing a lawsuit will not have an impact on whether the dog is removed from its owners or euthanized. Instead, this outcome will depend on the severity of the attack and whether the dog has any dangerous diseases.

When Are Dogs Euthanized After Biting Someone in Washington?

In Washington, animal control departments for city and county governments are responsible for handling dog bite cases. If a dog is dangerous and poses a risk to the public’s health or safety, the department may choose to euthanize the dog after it bites someone. Each agency has its own guidelines and processes for deeming a dog as dangerous.

Dogs are typically euthanized in very severe dog bite cases. For example, if the dog kills someone in an attack, the animal control department will likely euthanize it. If the animal has symptoms of rabies, it may also be euthanized. 

Dog Bite Lawsuits Award Monetary Damages

The purpose of a dog bite lawsuit is to compensate a victim for the physical, emotional, and financial losses that he or she suffered in the attack. They are not intended to levy penalties against the animal’s owner or even the animal itself. The proper authorities will determine whether a dog needs to be euthanized after an attack.

There are two categories of compensation that you could recover in a dog bite lawsuit. Economic damages involve your financial losses, while non-economic damages involve the pain and suffering that you experienced. Below are some examples of compensation in Washington dog bite claims:

  • Past and future medical expenses, including hospital stays and prescription medications
  • Lost wages and benefits during your treatment and recovery periods
  • Repairs and replacements for any property that was damaged in the attack
  • Chronic pain, permanent disability, disfigurement, and other forms of physical suffering
  • Emotional distress, mental anguish, anxiety, depression, and other forms of emotional trauma

How to Prove a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Washington

To successfully prove a dog bite lawsuit, you will need to show that the animal bit you while you were lawfully in a private place or in a public location. You do not need to prove that the owner was negligent or contributed to the attack; in Washington, dog owners are always liable for bite injuries unless the victim was trespassing or provoked the animal.

However, some owners may try to defend their animals by claiming that the victim was somehow responsible for the attack. If the defendant in your lawsuit attempts to use these strategies, the court could dismiss your case—preventing you from recovering compensation.

In these situations, you need an attorney on your side who can craft a compelling case in your favor and establish your right to financial compensation. After the attack, contact a Washington dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to plan your next steps.