I was bitten by a shelter dog while volunteering. What now?

The bite was, of course, unprovoked and somewhat painful but not serious. I went to the hospital for a wound cleaning and got a tetanus shot. The ER doctor notified Animal Control of the bite, but the office was closed because for the weekend. I told shelter staff that the dog needed to be quarantined to rule out rabies and they were shocked to hear it. The dog's picture was posted on a Facebook page advertising the event even though the shelter director knew what had happened, and the dog is still listed as adoptable on the group's Petfinder page. What are their responsibilities now that this has happened? I don't trust them to know or to follow the regulations even if they do know. Do they have to disclose the dog's bite history to potential adopters? I don't have plans to bring suit against them unless complications arise from my bite, like nerve damage, but are they negligent for not temperament testing dogs before taking them to public events and offering them to foster?

Asked by Libby on Sep 15th 2013 in Animal Control
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Best Answer


Calling Animal Control was the thing to do. Hopefully they send someone out and talk to them. The dog may have been temperament tested (it should say in it's records somewhere, I would think...? I don't actually know) but something set it off. You're absolutely right, they should not continue offering it up for adoption until this is sorted out. The last thing you want is a reactive dog going to a family with children or something... If they have to disclose a dog bite to the government, they probably have to disclose it to potential adopters. Hopefully a visit from Animal Control will remind them what the regulations are and that they need to follow them. I would call animal control again during the week and see if you can talk to a person, just to make sure they're looking into it.

Arya answered on Sep 17th.

Other Answers


Tasha (in memory)

Unless you signed an agreement with the shelter, it would be a waste of your money to sue them if they are a government agency. Why do you think you might have nerve damage without any stitches... If they are a private rescue, if you sued they would go bankrupt, dissolve and then start up again later under a different name. While you believe the bite was unprovoked, the dog did not think so and you will have a difficult time proving anything without video. If you want the money back from the hospital visit the best thing you might be able to do is to ask the group to pay for your medical. If they say no, then it's up to you if you want to take them to small claims court... but the judge will say that you knew the risks and assumed them willingly. Don't you want the dog the chance to be trained and find a new home... why punish the dog, especially if you did not need any stitches? ^_^ One cannot know how a formerly abused dog (or human) will react in new or stressful situations.

Tasha (in memory) answered on 9/15/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer