blog home Dog Bites Do dogs that bite people get euthanized in Virginia? And answers to your other most popular questions about dog bite cases in Virginia

Do dogs that bite people get euthanized in Virginia? And answers to your other most popular questions about dog bite cases in Virginia

By Ken Gibson on November 20, 2022

Dog owners are legally responsible when their dog attacks a person or another animal. In Virginia, irresponsible pet owners can face criminal charges and be held financially liable for damages caused by a violent dog.

A dog’s owner is expected to know a pet’s tendencies and to prevent it from harming others. If a pet attacks people or other animals without justification, a district court or magistrate may declare the dog dangerous. Once a dog has been declared dangerous, the owner must take steps to keep it under control.

If an owner proves incapable of protecting others from a dangerous dog, authorities then may remove the dog from the owner. In these cases, Animal Control can find a better home for the dog. Or, they could decide to put a dangerous dog to sleep, but that rarely happens.

What happens when a dog bites a person?

All medical facilities in Virginia are required to report suspected dog bite incidents to the Virginia Department of Health.

The results of dog bite cases in Virginia are largely determined by local ordinances and state court rulings, which have been handed down over the years.

Many cities and counties have strict dog bite laws, which may apply depending on where the incident happened. If a dog bites someone, the dog may be quarantined 10 days for observation to check for diseases such as rabies and to determine if the dog has a tendency for violence.

According to Virginia law, a dog that has a history of violent behavior may be declared a dangerous dog if it has attacked or killed a pet, or if an attack on a person caused serious laceration, broken bones, or a substantial puncture. Dogs may also be declared dangerous for threatening, chasing, harassing, or barking at people, or if it is used for dog fighting.

What can happen once a dog is declared dangerous?

Once a dog has been declared dangerous, the owner must submit to several conditions to protect their neighbors.

Depending on local jurisdiction, dangerous dog laws may include the following provisions:

  • The dog must be spayed, neutered, and chipped.
  • The dog must be vaccinated for rabies.
  • When outside, the dog must be leashed or kept inside an enclosure at all times.
  • Warning signs must be clearly posted around the owner’s property.
  • The owner must purchase $100,000 in liability insurance.
  • The dog must wear “dangerous dog” tags at all times.
  • The dog must never be permitted to roam free.
  • The dog must be muzzled and restrained by a leash whenever it is taken off the owner’s property.
  • The owner must inform Animal Control if the dog gets loose, is sold, or passes away.

What can cause dogs to attack people?

Most dogs are naturally friendly toward people. When dogs display violent behavior, it can be the result of violent or neglectful owners, or it can be the dog’s natural disposition or a medical or mental problem with the animal. Physically abusing dogs, leaving them alone for long periods, failing to give them a loving, nurturing environment, severely punishing them, or training dogs to fight are all behaviors that can cause a dog to become dangerous and mean.

In summary, if dog owners have any reason to suspect that their pet is capable of hurting someone, they must do everything possible to protect people from harm. That means obeying local leash laws and making sure the dog isn’t allowed to run free.

What can happen to a dog owner whose animal seriously hurts someone?

The law is designed to put responsibility for dog’s behavior at the other end of the leash. That’s why it’s a Class 1 misdemeanor to allow an animal to seriously hurt someone, carrying fines up to $2,500 and a maximum jail sentence of one year.

If an animal seriously injures a person and the court finds that the owner’s “willful act of omission in the care, control, or containment” of their dog is “gross, wanton, and culpable to show a reckless disregard for human life,” the offense can be prosecuted as a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in jail.

What can dog bite victims do after they’re attacked?

Dog bite victims have every right to hire an experienced dog bite attorney who will file a claim to help you get the money you need to pay your medical expenses and other bills after an attack.

At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we believe in looking out for our neighbors. We’ll always treat you with compassion and your case with the highest standards of legal excellence. We’ve already helped numerous dog bite victims get the compensation they deserve and we stand ready to help you.

Call us today (804) 413-6777 to schedule a free meeting to learn more. We’ll listen to your experience carefully and we’ll tell you your best options going forward. We’ll also tell you about our no-fee guarantee, meaning that we get paid when you get paid by those responsible for your dog bite injuries.

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Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

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