Dog Bites and the Law


Dog bite laws can vary greatly depending on local jurisdiction. It is important that you research the laws in your area so you will know what to expect. The following conditions typically apple in dog bite cases:

• You will need to show proof of your dog’s rabies vaccination history.

• A quarantine period may be required. This will most likely be longer if the rabies vaccine is not current.

• Depending on the situation and your dog’s history, it may be possible for your dog to be designated a “dangerous dog.” You may have to comply with specific laws regarding the handling of your dog.

• Laws may require that your dog is euthanized if your dog is considered “dangerous,” if they injury was very serious, or if a fatality occurred. In addition, you could be held legally responsible and face criminal charges.

Your Role After the Dog Bite:

The dog bite victim may choose to press charges and/or file a civil suit against you. In these cases, you should immediately hire an attorney.

In reality, proving your dog was provoked or somehow justified will be difficult unless it can be proven that the victim was committing a crime. This may be an argument that is not worth having. While you may or may not be legally ordered to cover the victim’s medical expenses, it is your responsibility to prevent this type of thing from happening in the future. Take measures to prevent the dog from biting again – contact a professional trainer and possibly a veterinary behaviorist.

The A.W. Smith Law Firm in Columbia handles dog bite and serious injury cases all over the State of Missouri. If you have questions about how to choose a law firm that is equipped to handle your dog bite or serious injury case, please contact us today at 573-777-3333 or visit our website at The A.W. Smith Law Firm has recovered millions in settlements and verdicts in serious injury and dog bite cases.