Apart from the huge economic recession that shook the entire world, we humans also saw a tremendous increase in the number of dog bite cases last year. Happening due to multiple reasons, the sudden spike was not only troublesome for pet parents and the common public, but also quite concerning for the judicial authorities.
This is because with the overwhelming rise of dog bite incidents, local courts and pet lawyers too had to amp their services. Dog bite cases had to be reviewed quickly and efficiently to ensure justice with the need for enforcement of stringent guidelines. As a result such cases were handled more rigidly, with punishments becoming much more severe.
According to the new implementations, if your dog bites someone you will have to serve prison time depending upon the severity of the mishap. The guilty might face charges coming under Penal Code §§ 399, 245(a)(1) or 242, whichever suits the evidence best.
However, there are a few factors that might cause a few variations in the final verdict. To know more, keep on reading.
What will happen if my dog bites someone?
While the general penalty for dog bites includes hefty fines or prison time, the final judgement will vary from one region to another. Not all dog bites are equal and therefore can never be accessed the same way. Moreover, some regions can be more judicially lenient towards pet owners than others. So when a dog bite case is registered, a number of factors come into play when deciding the conclusive statement.
To read more about these factors and how they can affect a case’s standing, click here.
So can you go to jail if your Dog Bites Someone?
Yes!!! Apparently if the area you live in falls under the 39 states that follow the “dangerous dog laws”, then there is a high chance for you to get imprisoned if your dog bites someone. These laws are specially enforced to maintain peace and ensure safety of the public, while simultaneously ascertaining that all pets are being taken care of properly.
Many times, pet dogs become aggressive if they are brought up in harsh environments, constantly bullied, harassed physically, emotionally or psychologically. And thus by implementing strict rules like these, a lot of these pet dog aggression can be reduced leading to a lower rate of dog bite incidents.
However if the dog has been reported to be aggressive, has previous records of dog attack related violence, and further continues to bite someone, then it is for certain that the owner will be going to jail. Such a nefarious act will be counted as a felony, guilty of a misdemeanour or worse involuntary manslaughter, leading to both hefty penalisation and imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the dog will also be put down or handed permanently to Animal Control Centers where it might spend the rest of its life locked inside a cage. The pet owner will also temporarily or permanently lose their rights of ever having a pet animal.
Help: My Dog Bit Someone!!! What should I do?
Remove the canine
Although a horrific accident to witness, if your dog bites someone the first thing to do is to confine your pet and remove them from the area. When not restrained at the right time, the animal will keep on continuing the act out of its natural instinct, further deteriorating the victim’s condition.
Such an animal should be crated immediately or moved to a different place with no way out. Doing so will eventually help both the dog and the victim calm down a little bit, offering you ample window to proceed to the further steps. When doing so, make sure to be calm and composed. Panicking, shouting or crying will only worsen the situation and could even make your dog more aggressive.
Call Emergency Services
Next immediately dial up emergency services and report the entire situation, along with the victim’s condition. When approached at the right time, a lot can be prevented from going wrong, meaning protection to both the victim as well as your dog.
Most often paying for the victim’s medical bills lessens the total punishment that could fall upon you and your pet. So being kind and showing empathy is much better than being all confrontational or blaming the victim for the incident.
Seek a Professional’s Help
Now that all the basic things have been completed, it is high time to take protection measures for you and your pup. Dog bite laws undergo continual changes, and hence consulting with a professional with enough experience and knowledge is a must.
Without this you may not know the right steps to apply for a countersuit in case a criminal case is filed against you. Moreover with additional help, you may also apply for leniency in case your dog bites someone and is actually guilty of aggressive biting or if the attack happened due to your irresponsibility.
Present all Records
Apart from preparing to make a stand, as an owner you should also keep all necessary documents ready. This includes the canine’s vaccination records (must include rabies shot details), their breed certificate, previous vet records, and medical reports if suffering from any health issue that could be contributing to their violent outbursts.
Using these documents, your lawyer will try to take stand for your canine’s behaviour, which if presented properly can lead to a reduced sentence for the owner as well as the pet dog.
NOTE- A lot of these dog bite cases are settled amicably outside the court and therefore being empathetic and willing to cover the victim’s medical bills often does greater wonders than previously thought.
Inform your Insurance Provider
Finally, no matter if your own insurance is covering up for your pet’s wellbeing or if you have a separate doggy insurance set up for your little Fido, informing the advisors is an important step. Upon being informed, the insurance company will look over the whole case and prevent it from escalating further by offering a considerable amount of compensation when directed by the court.
The money covered by the insurance company can turn out to be a great financial aid and also the involvement of a third-party ensures lesser risks of any foul-play.
Are all Dog Bites punishable?
No!!! In case you are handling a military or police-trained canine and if your dog bites someone, then the victim won’t be able to press charges against you. Such dogs have great impulse control, and therefore only when invoked, threatened, or given command do they indulge in such violent actions.
Moreover, some states also implement similar rules for service dogs that are responsible for mentally and physically disabled people. So, in case a service dog bites someone, then the case won’t be counted as a criminal offence, rather the sufferer may have to face tough interrogation as to why they were deemed threatening by a service dog.
How can I prevent my dog from biting someone?
Here are a few tips to prevent your dog from attacking or biting someone.
Ensure proper training
Proper training is a must if you want to prevent any risks of dog bite or aggression when outside with your pooch or when relaxing indoors. The dog should heed respect to your commands and should be amply familiar with commands including ‘Sit’, ‘Come’, ‘Leave’, ‘No’, ‘Drop’, etc. Without these simple teachings, your dog will only be a ticking time bomb waiting to explode the minute you look elsewhere.
Prevent stressful situations
Out of 10 reported dog bite mishaps, almost 7 involve cases where the dog was spooked, felt threatened, or was provoked in the wrong way. Given their natural protective nature, a pet dog will try to protect itself, his/her owner or their family which could mean trouble to the stranger. Therefore, if you notice your canine showing visible signs of anxiety, stress or fear then proactively shifting them to a calmer space is a much better option.
Use Muzzles and Crates
When out on walks, if your dog seems to jump around on anyone that tries to pass by you, then muzzling them is quite effective. While this doesn’t stop them from being a physical risk to others and neither does it stop their behaviour, attaching a muzzle can definitely prevent them from launching full-phased bite attacks.
However when using a muzzle, proper fit is highly essential. A loose or an extremely tight muzzle won’t work as desired and may even come out of their snout or worse suffocate the animal.
Similarly, if you are looking for a preventive to indoor aggression, then crates are the ultimate choice. Unless the dog is completely trained, you could use the crates to safely enclose the pet when anyone comes over. The special design will block any of the canine’s attacks, although the crate also needs to be of better quality to be able to handle the attacks.
Seek the help of professional trainers
Some dogs can be stubborn when training. And so if you are unable to train your pooch to be an absolute gentleman/lady, then professional trainers can come to your aid. They know tips and tricks that will come handy in taming the wild side of your woofer easily, without making them a liability for you and a threat to others.
Get them medically checked
Aggression can also result due to a number of underlying health conditions. For instance, if the dog is wounded, has a bad stomach ache, or just feeling down the weather, then also they can be a lot more snappy than usual. This feeling is usually similar to that of a human when they are going through a painful condition, and hence going for a quick check-up can help alleviate the risks of any possible dog bite aggression.
Even though dog bite accidents are quite terrifying for both the involved parties, they can be avoided with the right measures. This usually takes appropriate canine training, following precautionary measures and a careful understanding of your pooch’s emotional and physical wellbeing. With these simple steps, you can meticulously prevent any accidents that can lead to any kind of legal consequences.
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