Many people are unaware that one does not have to wait for a dog bite in Pennsylvania to report a dog attack on a threatening (menacing), loose or stray dog. Many dog attacks occur due to this lack of awareness. Do yourself and your future dog bite lawyer a favor, and make sure you report problematic dogs to Animal Control. If the dog bites and seriously injures someone, but there is no documented paper trail, you may have a hard time getting compensation for dog bite pain and suffering and medical expenses.
Failure to report a Pennsylvania dog bite has definite, specific consequences, which are discussed below.
(1) Future individuals will be bitten. When a Pennsylvania dog bite occurs and goes unreported to the authorities, it makes it very difficult if not impossible to prevent the dog from atacking again. Once a bite or dog attack is reported, Animal Control will get involved and cite the dog owner, as well as quarantine the dog for 10 days. This usually has the effect of making the dog owner more careful, so the dog is less likely to attack or bite again. If a citation is issued under the Dangerous Dog Law, a hearing will take place and if cound guilty of a violation, the owner will be cited and perhaps even directed to muzzle the dog when it is off of the owner’s property. The dog will also forever be deemed “dangerous” and if another incident occurs, the dog could be put down. At a minimum, the labeling of the dog as a danger will help any future victims get just compensation from the dog owner’s insurance company.
(2) Previous victims will not come forward. Often after a dog attack occurs and is reported, prior victims will start coming forward – usually to the victim, but also to the dog warden. This helps the state of Pennsylvania pursue it’s case against the dog owner, and also helps future victims in establishing that the dog has a history of aggression.
(3) You will have a hard time getting compensation for your injury for the attack. When my client is attacked, it is very helpful to report the attack to Animal Control. This way, there is a record of it with the authorities, and if they charge the dog owner with a Dog Law violation, it will help the case. If it is unreported you can still get compensation, it just makes it easier for the insurance company to agree to compensation if the owner is found guilty of a violation.
The bottom line is, make sure that an attack is reported. Even if YOU were not attacked but you know someone who was, make sure that person reports their Pennsylvania dog attack!