Black dog showing its fangs

How to Report a Dog Attack

You can never know for certain when a dog attack is going to happen. But you can plan ahead to know what to do in case one does, including how to report it.

Every state has different expectations regarding dog bites and animal attacks. Here in Ohio, you are expected to report the dog attack within 24 hours (under Ohio Administrative Code 3701-3-28), which allows a local health department to investigate the incident and determine if there is a rabies risk in the community. In many cases, rabies is spread by wild animals like raccoons to domesticated dogs, so the local authorities need to know if there is a growing wildlife issue.

Who should you call after a dog attack? The answer depends on where you live in Ohio because different health departments or animal control departments might become involved. It is usually simplest to call the local sheriff’s department and ask for more information. If someone has been seriously injured, then call 911 to get paramedics on the scene.

What Information Do You Need to Provide in Your Dog Attack Report?

The dog report you are asked to fill out will likely as for:

  • Your identity and contact information
  • Identity and contact information of the dog’s owner
  • Dog description like breed, color, and size
  • Where the attack happened
  • What body parts were injured in the attack and how badly
  • If the dog was contained or neutralized by the authorities

Try to provide as much information in the report as you can remember. As mentioned, the primary purpose of the report is to help the local health department determine if there is a rabies risk in the area that needs to be addressed through other means. Your report could help them take action to lower local populations of “rabies vector species,” which are species that are highly likely to contract and spread rabies to people and pets.

What Happens to the Dog That Bit You?

In Ohio, dogs that attack people will be collected by animal control officers if possible. Unless the animal is outwardly aggressive and dangerous, it will usually be tested for rabies before being quarantined for at least 10 days. Depending on the results of the rabies test, the dog may be put to sleep or returned to its owner.

Dogs are not automatically slated for euthanasia in Ohio just because they attack someone. A court usually has the authority to put a healthy dog to sleep after it attacks someone, but this is considered the last option in most cases. You should file a dog attack report without worrying about the outcome for the dog.

Why Does the Dog Attack Report Matter?

Filing a dog attack report also matters because it can be a cornerstone piece of evidence in your dog bite injury claim pursued later. Without the report, the dog owner or their legal representative could try to argue that the attack never occurred. Simple questions like “Are you sure it was this dog,” could be enough to derail your argument if there is no official paperwork to back it up.

If you need help with a dog bite claim in Sandusky and the surrounding area in Ohio, then Murray & Murray would like to hear from you. Call (419) 664-3711 or use an online contact form to connect with our attorneys.