How to Report Dog Bites

Written by heather vecchioni
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How to Report Dog Bites
Even friendly dogs can bite if provoked. (dog image by Zbigniew Nowak from

There is not much that is more frightening than getting bitten by a dog. Provoked or not, dog bites are often painful and have the potential to become quite dangerous if not appropriately treated. Victims of dog bites should always report the situation to the proper authorities, because it documents the case, as well as researches the health of the dog, if possible. However, in the midst of all that is taking place after a dog bite, it can be hard to know where and how to report the bite.

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  1. 1

    Collect the information of the dog that bit you from its owner, if possible. Obtain the owner's name, address and phone number, as well as the name and breed of the dog and its veterinarian's contact information. If you are able, also collect the rabies tag number of the animal and find out if the dog's current veterinarian administered the vaccine. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses who saw the attack.

  2. 2

    Remember the location where the bite took place and the description of the dog, if it was wild or the owner was not present. This information may help authorities locate the animal and its owner, if it has one.

  3. 3

    Contact your local police department or animal control centre to report the bite. Depending upon the state, it varies as to whom you should contact. Sometimes, the two offices are linked and you only need to call your police department. Take note of whom you spoke with and when and be sure to give him all the information he asks for.

Tips and warnings

  • Seek medical attention immediately after the bite. Bites often require stitches, as well as antibiotics. In addition, the doctor may also prescribe pain medication. Sometimes, you are able to report the bite to the police at the hospital, although you may still need to contact animal control, as well.
  • If the dog is not current on its rabies vaccine or the attacker was a stray or wild, you may need to receive rabies treatment.
  • According to, dog-bite victims should take pictures of their wounds, bruises and bloody clothing. Do not sign anything and do not allow anyone but yourself to take pictures of or record you. In addition, do not accept any money and do not discuss who is at fault, unless you are speaking to the authorities. Victims may also want to consider contacting a lawyer, as costs for future treatment---such as cosmetic surgery, if required---may not be covered by the insurance company.

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