If your dog, for whatever reason, has attacked another animal or a person, it is very possible that there are many questions you may be asking yourself at this time, can you report me? Will I have to go to trial? What will happen to my dog?
That a dog tries to attack another animal or a person is something that can happen, even those of us who love 4-legged friends know that this is sometimes the case. It may be that the dog is scared, that he is not used to seeing so many people, or that he feels threatened.
What should we do in cases like this? For some people, the first instinct will be to run away or try to scare the animal away with a stick, stone or stomping on the ground. Actually, what you should do is keep calm. Most dogs bark and try to scare you because they are scared.
If your position is the victim, your questions will be in the opposite direction, can I claim damages to the owner of the aggressor dog? Do I have to report to the police?
From this moment on, it is very likely that a dog evaluation procedure and legal actions will be initiated, and before doing anything, it is convenient that you inform yourself, for this, we have prepared this guide.
What to do if your dog has bitten a person or another animal?
- In a situation like this, you must stand firm and not show signs of fear or nervousness. The dog will probably keep barking but the fact that you don’t show fear will slowly calm him down. “The more you shout or try to move, the more excited the dog will be, “ explains expert veterinarian Sophia Yin.
- If you let yourself be controlled by your survival instinct and run away, the dog will most likely chase you and end up attacking you. It is a completely natural reflex act of dogs, so it is best for you to be still and face it as calmly as possible. Most likely, he will keep barking, but from a certain distance, because he instinctively knows that you are not afraid of him.
- Most dogs will react to your safety by backing up. You can try to approach slowly and most likely they will take a step back , because they really do not intend to bite you, but to growl to leave your “territory.”
- In the worst case, when you are dealing with a dog that comes out to bite, try to keep calm and turn your back so that it does not reach your face. If it takes you to the ground, roll like a ball with your knees bent and your hands on the back of your neck keeping you as still as possible.
As we have explained, if your dog attacks another dog or a person, an evaluation process will begin. It does not matter if the person who has suffered the attack or the owner of the attacked dog files a complaint or not, the assessment process of the attacking dog will be the same. The only difference is that in parallel to the process of appraisal of the dog, legal proceedings will be initiated that will determine whether the attacked and plaintiff must be compensated.
If the attacked person goes to a medical center, a health center, hospital or emergency department for the dog’s bite, an animal attack protocol will be initiated at the medical center itself. In the part of injuries that the doctor will perform, all the data related to the dog and its owner, identification, address, telephone number and details of the attack will be collected. The health center will inform the agency dependent on the management of animal attacks, which will depend on our location.
Who can report a dog’s attack?
The notification of an attack on a person can proceed in several ways simultaneously: by the police when making a complaint, by the medical center that attends the person attacked, by the attacker when going directly to the animal protection center responsible for the treatment of animals dangerous or by the owner of the dog when going to report an attack.
Once the attack notice has been received at the Animal Protection Center, the owner of the animal will be required to transfer it to the center for evaluation. If it has not been required by means of notification, the owner has 72 hours to appear there, since it is obligatory the personification with the dog. Failure to do so could incur administrative and even criminal fines.
Along with the dog, various documentation and the animal’s health card must be taken to verify that the vaccines are up to date, as well as the documentation of the identification chip implantation, the Potentially Dangerous Animal Tenure License and the registration certificate in the Registry of Potentially Dangerous Animals.
Compulsory civil liability insurance for dogs must also be carried if there is a breed dog included in the registry of potentially dangerous animals. Finally, you must go with your documentation in order, National Identity Document (DNI) or passport.
The dog will remain in quarantine for 14 days (this period depends on which Autonomous Community you are in since the legislation in this area is different in each region), the period in which the degree of aggressiveness of the animal will be assessed and if it poses a risk for the rest of the people. The quarantine can be done at the dog owner’s home if the veterinarian in charge of the Animal Protection Center considers it. During that period, veterinarians will ask the owner various things, for example, if the dog before the attack has stopped eating or drinking, if it has been more active or less, etc.
After the quarantine, an opinion will be made that will qualify the dog as potentially dangerous or not based on aggressiveness and risk to people and/or other animals and, consequently, appropriate measures will be established, reeducation, obligation to carry a muzzle, example.
This opinion can be appealed by administrative means by means of a remedy of replacement and if this were unfavorable, an appeal before the Contentious-Administrative Court of your region.
After the quarantine period has passed if the opinion has been favorable, the dog may leave the house if the period has passed at home or it may be taken to the Center if the quarantine was spent there.
This process is repeated exactly the same if, instead of one person, your dog attacks another dog. In this case, the notification to the Animal Protection Center can come through the police if there has been a complaint, by the complaint of the veterinarian who treats the injured dog or by the notification of the owner of the attacked dog. The deadlines are the same, ending the process with an opinion that may be subject to administrative recourse or resort to ordinary justice.
If the dog dies before the end of the quarantine and observation period, a sample of brain tissue from the deceased dog will be analyzed to rule out the possible presence of rabies and act accordingly. The death of your dog, if it has initiated the attack, does not exonerate you from civil or criminal liability.
Legal responsibility when your dog attacks a person or other animal
The person responsible for the dog and the person who assumes all legal responsibilities is always the person who has it registered in his name. When the compulsory pet vaccination card is created and the mandatory microchip is placed, the dog is integrated into a register and the person responsible for it is registered and converts the registered person as its legal owner.
The national legislation on dangerous dogs contemplates all the legal content that must be taken into account and can be consulted here:
- Royal Decree 287/2002, of March 22, which develops Law 50/1999, of December 23. https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-2002-6016
- The list of the different dog breeds considered dangerous differs in each Autonomous Community. You can check it in the previous link.
The dog owner’s registry has its logic, since the Spanish Civil Code regulates the responsibility with regard to the possession of animals, specifically in article 1095 the following:
The possessor of an animal, or the one who uses it, is responsible for the damages it will cause, even if it is lost or lost. This responsibility will only cease if the damage arises from force majeure or fault of the one who suffered it.
Ways to prevent an attack and responsibility
To prevent your dog from attacking another animal or a person, it is advisable to encourage a good education of your pet.
Dogs often bite because they believe that another dog has invaded their land and may question their leadership, since they are very territorial animals. When this happens the dog barks, growls, shows his teeth, makes a threat of attack and then bites.
Another cause of the attack is because the animal feels that it must protect something or someone very valuable to it. It can be a ball, food or its own owner. Therefore, it can become aggressive when the owner approaches another person or another dog.
The dog may feel fear and become aggressive because of this, in these cases try to defend against something or someone who interprets as a threat. If your dog has shown any of these symptoms it is necessary to always carry it with a muzzle and tied, and let it play with other dogs only if the other animal is docile.
Should we sacrifice a dog after having bitten another person or another dog?
This is a question for which one should remain calm because not all dogs that bite a person or other dog or animal end up slaughtered.
Whenever a dog starts an attack and bites a person, dog or animal, it will be quarantined to observe and assess their behavior. Subsequently, professionals will decide whether the violent event is an isolated case or if the dog shows signs of violent behavior and can repeat the attacks.
Whatever the diagnosis of the professionals, the sacrifice is considered as the last option and will never occur until the quarantine time is over and an official opinion is made.
Now that you have all the information, you can act accordingly.
If you are the owner of a dog and know that you have ever had aggressive behavior, it is highly advisable to take out pet insurance to minimize risks in cases of accidents and unforeseen events that usually produce very large compensation.
Finally, we want to invite you to share your experience with us through the comments if you have ever seen yourself in one of these situations. Tell us how it was resolved or ask us any other questions you may have. We will be happy to read to you!