Being bitten by a dog is more than just a physical injury; it’s a traumatic event that can leave you feeling vulnerable and uncertain about what to do next. In the chaos and discomfort following a dog bite, one of the pressing questions you might face is whether to report the incident to animal control. This decision is crucial, as it sets in motion a series of legal and procedural steps.
How Do You File a Dog Bite Report in Washington?
If you’re in Washington and have suffered a dog bite, you should report the incident to local animal control authorities in Washington as soon as possible. This action is essential for a couple of reasons: it helps protect others from potential harm and bolsters your case if you decide to pursue legal action in the future.
The process of filing a complaint varies depending on your location within the state. For example:
- In King County, you can file an animal control report online.
- In Pierce County, you can file online or over the phone.
- In Thurston County, you can complete a PDF report and file it through email or via regular mail.
- In Kitsap County, you can call 911 to file an animal control complaint.
Will a Dog Be Quarantined or Euthanized After a Dog Bite?
After a dog bite report, the fate of the dog involved depends on the circumstances of the incident and the guidelines of the local animal control department. The repercussions can range from minimal to severe. In many cases, the dog may be quarantined within the owner’s home or might be required to wear a muzzle when in public.
More severe actions, such as euthanasia, are generally reserved for extreme cases, such as a fatal attack or a history of aggression. It’s important to note that the decision to remove the dog from its home or to euthanize it is made independently by animal control. If you choose to file a dog bite lawsuit, the court will not order the dog to be removed or put down.
What Repercussions Will the Owner Face After a Report?
In most cases, the owner may be required to abide by certain conditions to control their dog, such as wearing a muzzle. They may also face fines imposed by animal control. However, the owner may also face legal repercussions via a dog bite lawsuit or insurance claim.
In Washington, dog owners face strict liability for bites. This means that if their dog injures someone, they are responsible for the damages, irrespective of the dog’s previous behavior. Typically, these liabilities are covered by the owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies. However, if the claim exceeds the coverage limits, the owner is required to pay the difference.
There are exceptions to this rule. For instance, if the injured party was trespassing or provoking the dog, the owner may not be held liable. In most cases, however, a dog’s owner will be financially responsible for any medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages that the victim suffers due to the bite.
If you are attacked by a dog in Washington state, you need an attorney on your side. A lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and hold the owner accountable for their animal’s actions. After the incident, schedule a free legal consultation with a Seattle dog bite lawyer to discuss your next steps.