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How to Report a Dog Bite in San Diego County

Dog bites are a serious public health concern, and San Diego County has protocols to ensure safety and proper response. If you want to know how to report a dog bite in San Diego County, navigating the reporting process can feel overwhelming while dealing with the physical and emotional aftereffects. This guide will walk you through the steps of reporting a dog bite, help you understand the legalities involved, and provide resources to help you during this time.

If you intend to start a claim for a dog bite injury, we strongly recommend getting advice from a reputed San Diego dog bite injury attorney. Doing that can increase the chances of obtaining the maximum compensation you deserve by law. Dog bite cases can be especially tricky, especially when it comes to determining liability. Having a skilled lawyer by your side is your safest option. Make a free consultation with one of our lawyers by calling (888) 824-1025. 

How to Report a Dog Bite in San Diego County, Step by Step

Step 1: Seek Medical Attention

The first and most crucial step is seeking medical attention before even thinking about reporting or doing a personal injury claim. Regardless of the severity of the bite, a doctor should evaluate and clean the wound to prevent infection. This visit is also important because it will also establish a medical record of the incident, which may be vital later.

Step 2: Report the Bite

By law, all dog bites in San Diego County must be reported. The reporting agency depends on your location:

  • San Diego Humane Society Jurisdiction: Check their website to see if your zip code falls under their coverage. If so, call their 24/7 emergency line at (619) 299-7012 (press 1).
  • Unincorporated Areas of San Diego County: Contact the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services at (619) 236-2341. This number is also for emergencies after San Diego Humane Society’s business hours.
  • City with Independent Animal Control: Several cities within San Diego County have their own Animal Control departments. These include Chula Vista, Coronado, El Cajon, Escondido, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos, and Vista. You can find the appropriate contact information for your city through a web search.

What Information Will You Need?

When reporting the bite, be prepared to provide details like:

  • Your Information: Name, address, phone number.
  • Details of the Incident: Date, time, location of the bite, and a brief description of what happened.
  • Animal Information: Description of the dog (breed, size, color), owner’s information (if known).
  • Witness Information: Names and contact details of any witnesses.

Step 3: Document Everything

While fresh in your memory, document the incident as thoroughly as possible. This includes:

  • Take pictures Of the bite wound (with a date stamp if possible), the dog (if safe), and the location of the incident.
  • Writing down details: Date, time, location, a detailed description of the incident, any actions taken immediately after the bite.
  • Keeping medical records: Save all documentation from your doctor visit, including any prescriptions or treatment plans.

Step 4:  Understand the Legal Aspects

Dog bite laws in California generally follow a strict liability standard. This means the dog owner is liable for damages regardless of prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.  However, exceptions exist, such as trespassing on private property or provoking the dog.

Consulting with an attorney specializing in dog bite cases can be helpful, primarily if the bite resulted in significant injuries or medical bills.  They can advise you on your legal options and potential recourse for compensation.

Step 5: Quarantine and Dog Owner Responsibility

California law mandates that any dog that bites a human must be quarantined for ten days.  The dog’s owner is responsible for ensuring the quarantine is completed at a veterinary clinic or a secure home environment approved by Animal Services.

The Animal Services Department will investigate the incident and determine the appropriate course of action for the dog based on the severity of the bite and the dog’s history. Depending on the outcome, the dog might be deemed dangerous and subject to specific restrictions or even euthanasia.

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