Do You Have to Report a Dog Bite?

Serious dog bites occur more often than most people realize. About 1,000 people in the U.S. per day require emergency medical care for dog bite injuries. In Kansas City, it may be a matter of when, not if, you will suffer a dog bite injury. If the worst has already happened to you, your child or your pet, find out what steps to take next. Reporting the dog bite may be necessary under certain circumstances. Speaking to a dog bite attorney in Kansas City about your case could help you negotiate for fair recovery in or out of the courtroom.

When to Report to Kansas City Animal Health and Public Safety

Reporting a dog bite means calling and explaining what happened to a public safety official or animal control authority. The goal of reporting a dog bite is to protect the safety of the public. Regulators may need to intervene to conduct rabies tests on the dog, quarantine the animal, penalize a negligent owner and/or put a dangerous dog down. While you will not need to report every dog bite incident, you should report it if it meets a certain level of severity.

  • Serious or life-threatening injuries
  • Permanently scarring or disfiguring injuries
  • Fatal dog attacks
  • Expensive property damage
  • Injury or death to a domestic animal
  • Broken animal securement laws
  • Dog roaming free and unattended

In Kansas City, the authority you should contact about a bad dog bite injury is the Animal Health and Public Safety Division. The number to contact them is easy to remember: 311. Call 311 immediately after suffering a serious dog bite. The responder will walk you through what steps to take next, such as going to a hospital, as well as the dangerous dog reporting process.

What Happens After Reporting a Dog Bite Injury?

Although you do not lawfully have to report a dog bite, the Animal Health and Public Safety Division highly recommends doing so for your safety and the safety of others. If a dog is dangerous, for example, reporting it could force the pet owner to take extra precautions to prevent future attacks, such as putting a muzzle on the pet on walks. In most cases, the Division will not put a dog down for simply biting a human. The Division will instead penalize the owner for any acts of negligence and keep track of the incident for future reference. Extreme cases, however, many lead to humane euthanasia of the animal.

Since Missouri abides by a one-bite law for dog bite cases, it could help another person’s case in the future to report your dog bite injury. If the dog that bit you had bitten someone else in the past and that victim had reported it, you would have hard evidence to bring against the pet’s owner. Reporting a dog bite can keep an accurate record of dangerous dogs in your neighborhood for the safety of residents. It could also prove that you did everything you should have after a dog bite – something an insurance company may check before approving an injury claim.

Other Steps to Take After a Dog Bite

Calling the Kansas City Animal Health and Public Safety Division is not the only thing you should do after a dog bites you. You should take other steps as well to protect your physical and financial health. See a doctor immediately after suffering a dog bite that breaks the skin. Dog bites come with a high risk of infection and you may need professional disinfectant and/or wound debridement. If the dog was not up to date on its vaccinations, you may also need a rabies shot. Professional wound treatment can help your injury heal properly.

Once you receive medical care, take your dog bite injury case to an attorney. The pet owner may refute liability and refuse to pay your medical bills. Bringing a personal injury claim may be necessary for fair compensation, especially if you or a loved one suffered life-changing injuries in a dog attack. A lawyer can also answer questions about when to report a dog bite.