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What to Do If Your Neighbor’s Dog Bites

Having a neighbor with a dangerous dog is a big worry. However, it’s worth noting that “dangerous-looking” and “dangerous” aren’t necessarily the same thing. Unfortunately the proof lies in the dog’s behavior, that is to say, whether he actually bites someone. If that person is you or a member of your family, and the bite is serious, you may need help from a personal injury lawyer. Free consultation means that this needn’t be a costly exercise.

However, you’ll need to take several other steps first, and it’s important that you do so, both in order to further any personal injury lawsuit you may decide to initiate, and to protect the community at large.

Know the Identity of the Dog’s Owner

If the injuries are serious, you won’t delay getting medical help, but see if a family member can help you to get the dog owner’s details as well as the details of any passing witnesses. In most instances, proving liability if the bite occurred inside your neighbor’s yard is complicated – but don’t take it for granted that you can’t do anything. You’ll also want to know if the dog’s vaccinations are up to date since this might influence the treatment of the bite victim. A copy of vaccination records will do. Don’t discuss the incident in any detail at this point, even if you are on friendly terms with your neighbor. Just get the information.

Contact Animal Control Authorities in Your Area

There are several reasons why animal control authorities should know about the incident. In the first place, they will need the information for their work in rabies control. But they may also want it for records that track dog bites to identify dangerous dogs that are a risk to the community. One bite incident isn’t usually enough to give a dog this designation, but if it becomes a habit, they will take action.

Dog Bite First Aid

The faster you can clean the wound, the better. Use mild soap and warm running water. Try to slow the bleeding with a clean cloth or sterile gauze and apply an antibiotic cream. Bandage the wound and get medical help. Your doctor will be concerned about infection and is likely to prescribe antibiotics. If your last anti-tetanus shot was five or more years ago, your doctor will administer one, and in some cases, they might suture the wound.


Save Evidence – Just in Case

Torn and bloodied clothing, medical paperwork, witness information, and photographs of the scene as well as your injuries should be saved. Most dog bites don’t result in serious injuries, but there are times when even mild-looking ones can turn into bigger problems later on. If they do, you might want to claim compensation, and your evidence may be needed to support your case.

What if My Neighbor Isn’t Taking Reasonable Steps to Secure the Dog?

In most instances, dog bites happen in the spur of the moment. The dog is overexcited and feels threatened or wants to protect “his” territory. But some pet owners are irresponsible. If your neighbor is allowing a dangerous dog to roam the streets and won’t listen to appeals from residents, assemble evidence, and work with other people in your street to solve what may be a life-threatening problem. Animal control organizations are your first port of call, but if all else fails, you could club together and bring a nuisance lawsuit against the dog’s owner.

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