What Happens to Dogs That Bite People in Virginia?

When a dog attacks a person or animal, the owner is legally liable. In Virginia, negligent dog owners could face criminal charges and be held financially accountable for any damages their dogs or other pets caused. 

What happens to dogs that bite people?

As a dog owner, you are expected to be aware of your dog’s disposition and take reasonable precautions to stop it from injuring someone. If a dog or any other pet attacks a person or animals without provocation, a magistrate or district court could declare your dog dangerous. Once that happens, there are steps you will be required to take to ensure your dog is kept under control. 

If the owner demonstrates that they are incapable of keeping others safe from their dangerous dog, then local authorities can have the dog removed from its home. In many cases, Animal Control is able to find the dog a more suitable home. It is within their power to put the dog down, but, relax, that hardly ever happens.

If you were bitten by a dog in Virginia, you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp know how frightening an animal attack can be. Our experienced lawyers can evaluate your claim in a free consultation and advise you on the next steps to take.  

What Happens After Someone is Bit by a Dog?  

In Virginia, all medical facilities must report any suspected dog bites to the Department of Health. The outcome of a Virginia dog bite case is mostly decided by state court rulings and local ordinances.  

A lot of counties and cities throughout the state have very strict laws regarding dog bites, which, depending on where the incident took place, may or may not apply to your situation. After a dog bites a person, it will most likely be quarantined for 10 days for the purposes of observation, checking for diseases like rabies, and determining if the animal has a natural proclivity towards violence.

Virginia law states that a dog with a history of violent or ferocious behavior can be declared dangerous if it has killed or injured a pet, or if caused a person to sustain injuries such as a serious puncture wound, a broken bone, or a deep laceration. A dog can also be acknowledged as being dangerous if it harasses, barks at, threatens, or chases people, or if it has been bred for dog fighting.

What Happens to Dogs That Are Declared Dangerous?  

After a dog is declared dangerous, its owner will be required to take several steps in order to ensure the safety of others in their area.  

Based on the local jurisdiction where the incident occurred, dangerous animal laws can include provisions such as:

  • The dog has to be chipped, and neutered or spayed.  
  • The dog has to have a rabies vaccination.
  • Anytime the dog is outside, it has to be in an enclosure or on a leash. 
  • Appropriate warning signs have to be posted around the property in clear sight.
  • The owner will be required to carry $100,000 of liability insurance.
  • The dog will have to wear a “dangerous dog” collar at all times.
  • The dog will not be allowed to free roam.
  • If the dog is taken off the property, it must be leashed and muzzled. 
  • If the dog dies, is sold, or runs off, the owner is required to notify Animal Control. 

Talk to a Virginia Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were the victim of an unprovoked dog bite, or have questions about what happens to dogs that have attacked someone, you deserve an experienced Virginia dog bite attorney who can help you file a claim for your medical bills and other expenses after being attacked.

Contact the Virginia Beach law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp as soon as possible to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation. You can talk to an experienced member of our firm about your options for recovering financial compensation by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our online form.

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