What happens to a dog in a dog bite case?
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If you've been bit by a dog and injured, it's entirely likely that you'd like to file a suit against that dog's owner to help recoup some of your expenses. But while the dog's owner will have to be in court, you may be wondering: what happens to the dog after they've bitten you? Experienced dog bite injury attorney Gene Hou is here to answer all your questions about dog bite injuries and what to do if you are suing someone for a dog bite.
While there are some variations as to the exact protocol, Missouri counties follow similar requirements when a dog has bitten a person for the first time. Following the victim reporting the bite to local authorities, the animal control or sheriff's department of the county where the dog resides collects the dog and impounds them for ten days. During this time, the dog is taken to a central facility like an animal shelter, or in some cases an animal hospital or veterinarian's office. It is checked for rabies or other diseases by a veterinarian. If test results show that the dog is rabid, it will be euthanized by a vet, as rabid dogs are seen as a threat to public health. Otherwise, the dog will be observed for the remainder of the period. It will have a microchip implanted in it for further identification by local authorities. In addition, if the owner has not done so already, the dog will be spayed or neutered.
After The Dog Is Released
Following the ten-day observation period and if local authorities have deemed the dog safe, it is released back into the custody of its original owner. He or she must pay certain service fees or fines that cover the cost of the care and feeding of the dog while it was being impounded. Under Missouri law, having bit someone the dog is now considered a "dangerous dog", and most jurisdictions require owners to take extra care of dangerous animals. This includes keeping the dog in a secure pen or kennel, installing signs alerting visitors that there is a dangerous dog on their property, and mandating that the dog be leashed and muzzled when out of its pen.
If A Dangerous Dog Bites Someone Again
Even if its owner keeps their dog secured after it bit someone for the first time, there is still a chance it could bite someone again. If that occurs, Missouri Revised Statute 578.024 now applies to the case. This law, which came into effect in 2017, establishes a procedure for local authorities to deal with dangerous dogs that are "repeat offenders", so to speak.
Like the first time a dog has bit a human being, the dog is impounded by local animal control or the county sheriff. However, this time its owner must file an appeal within ten days for their case to be reviewed and the dog to be considered for release. A disposition hearing is then held where a judge reviews whether or not the dog could be released back into the custody of its owner. If the judge deems that the dog should not be released, or an appeal is not filed with ten days, the dog is put down.
Filing A Dog Bite Lawsuit
If you have been injured as a result of a dog bite, an experienced Missouri dog bite injury attorney can be your best friend. Gene Hou is experienced in dog bite lawsuits and can help you get the best possible settlement. Contact us online or call his office at (636) 333-1717 to discuss your case today.