View Full Version : DD bitten by dog - need legal help please!

11-25-2007, 11:30 PM
As the title says, my DD was bitten on the face by my cousin's dog yesterday evening. My DD wasn't severely injured but does have a fairly significant pair of holes inside her mouth just inside her upper lip. I didn't realize yesterday how significant these wounds were because of the swelling and bleeding but now that I can see them more clearly today, I want to have them checked out by her doctor in the morning as I think she should be put on prophylactic antibiotics. I'm wondering what will happen when I tell them it's a dog bite - and I will have to tell them to ensure proper treatment. What I need help with is this: does anyone know whether or not the doctor has to report the dog? I know if it is reported, the dog will have to be quarrantined for 10 days but I don't have any idea what happens after that.

11-26-2007, 01:12 AM
oh no I'm sorry this happened :( glad to hear she wasn't hurt too badly.

Something simular happened to me before so i'll try to help. My dog bit my cousin a few years ago. He was sleeping and she laid on him like she does to her dog only my dog I think got scared and jumped up. She actually got hurt pretty badly (she is fine now though and you would never know anything happened). I think my aunt sued the insurance company and everything. However nothing happed to my dog thank goodness. I think it really depends on the temperment of the dog. If they have done something like this before or what really caused it. My dog had never done anything like this before and was a very friendly dog I think he was just scared from being woken up like that. So I think it will really depend on that. He also wasn't quarrantined I think it was reported though because they did call and talk to my mom.

Hope all goes well and hope I helped somewhat.

11-26-2007, 01:19 AM
The offending dog is normally very sweet. She's a miniature schnauzer - same as my dog. We were at a birthday party and the dog had been tormented by other kids all day (although we didn't know that) and apparently had enough when my DD had the misfortunate timing to want to pet her. I really don't want anything to happen to the dog and I don't need my cousin paying the medical bills but I will report the dog if necessary by law.

11-26-2007, 01:29 AM
I think the difference would be that your daughter wasn't attacked by the dog. It was a bite, and although still traumatic for everyone, it happens. My nephew got bitten by my parent's dog when he was 3 right on the cheek, and they took him to the hospital for stitches and antibiotics. Nothing happened to my parents' dog, but they did get asked if the dog was vaccinated (they took the papers with them just in case).

Maybe you can call and ask your local police information number, but I would bet that in this case it won't be a problem.

Sorry you have to go through this, and quick healing to your DD.

11-26-2007, 01:38 AM
Thanks Michael, both for the info and for the good wishes for my DD. She'll be fine - it's not a major injury and the dog is up-to-date on her vaccinations. I didn't think they would be very hard on a first-time offender, especially when it wasn't an attack. I don't want anything to happen to the dog - I like her.

11-26-2007, 07:27 AM
I'm so sorry this happened to your DD! And I'm sad to say that this happened to us, too, except it was our dog that bit our niece! :( I believe my niece was 9 at the time - we had brought our dog over to my parents house for Easter. All the kids were hanging on the dog (a large Brittany spaniel and we weren't aware of his many issues yet) and though Mike and I weren't outside when it happened (other adults were), we heard that Alyssa (my niece) had been pulling on his ear - just as she went closer to "hug" him, he snapped at her - because she had just moved closer, he got a tooth into the side of her cheek. She, of course, paniced and pulled her face away, leaving a gash. My SIL and Brother had to rush her to the ER and she had to be treated by a plastic surgeon. :( :( I know that they had to tell the ER that it was a dog bite, but they also said it was a relative's dog and explained the whole thing and nothing happened to the dog - we were never even questioned about it. The guilt, though.....it was awful!!

I was also bit by a dog when I was little - delivering girl scout cookies! :blush: It was a neighborhood dog, that was well known for not liking children....but since I loved dogs, I figured it would like me! :blush: (I was about 8 at the time). While my neighbor went to get the money, I went to pet the dog - who bit me across the front of my wrist. It was not a bad or deep bite, though, and since my parents knew the dog had had it's shots, they did nothing about it.

I'm so glad that your DD wasn't hurt worse and I think it's awesome that you are concerned about the welfare of the dog! :mickey:

11-26-2007, 08:08 AM
Your poor daughter....I hope she won't be afraid of dogs after this.

Here in Virginia you have to report any dog that bites, provoked or not. Most dogs are quarantined right on the owners property these days because space is so limited at our animal shelters.

I hope everything works out.

11-26-2007, 08:17 AM
So sorry about the bite, Kathy. :pixie: for the DD!

I think this is one of the situations that varies depending on local legislation. My DH was bitten similarly by the MIL's dog and treated, and no report was made. The doctor didn't really seem to be concerned with anything but treating the patient, never asked about the dog beyond that it was a family pet and we were familiar with the animal's medical history.

11-26-2007, 08:29 AM
By law I have to report any bites also. I never thought anything happened to the animals. The Department of Health follows up with the patients. Sorry this had to happen to your DD. She should see her doctor, they usually give antibiotics. :pixie::pixie::pixie:for her speedy recovery

11-26-2007, 08:56 AM
So sorry that this happened to your family. I'm sure your cousin feels really bad about this also. Sometimes little dogs can get really spooked by kids because they are so tiny and can be hurt so easily. You can teach your kids dog safety like never approach a dog or try to pet a dog without first getting the owners permission. Also always allow the dog to come to you and sniff you first, but even when kids do all the right things it just sometimes happens. Like you said if other kids had been smothering the dog all day long it may have just had enough and felt threatened. I'm glad that it has all its shots up to date so your daughter does not have to go through any shots or anything.

11-26-2007, 09:14 AM
I'm so sorry that this happened! Any dog bite is terrifying! I was biten in the back of the leg by a german shepard. I was a camp counselor during the summers when I was in college. I had walked a kid off the bus to his front door and was returning to the bus when the dog ran out of the house and grab the back of my leg! Luckily it was a cold day and I was wearing jeans and I reacted by punching the dog. If it hadn't been for those 2 things he probably would have tore my leg apart. Even with that I got 4 deep holes in my leg. It swelled up really big and I had to go on antibotics just in case.

The dog was reported to the police, my dad was a police officer in the town, but nothing happened to him. I truely believe he (the dog) somehow saw me as a threat to the child that day. I was so worried that he would be put down! If he had torn my leg apart I probably would have thought differently.

I hope DD heals well and fast and isn't affraid of dogs after this!!!

Sean Riley Taylor's Mom
11-26-2007, 10:08 AM
My DS was bit by my neighbor's dog two years ago. He was playing in their yard with their children and was going across the monkey bars. The dog, a Jack Russell, jumped up and bit Riley on the leg in the calf.
Thankfully he was wearing jeans but, it was still a pretty nasty injury. The dog bit him and then dragged down so he had bite marks and long scrapes. It would have been much worse if he was wearing shorts.
We brought him right over to the Ped who cleaned it up and bandaged it. Riley was put on antibiotics for two weeks.
I don't know if the Dr ever reported it or not. He asked if the dog was up to date on his vaccines. I had already called the owner so I knew he was. We were never contacted by anyone. Our Insurance company requires an accident report with any injury so we filled that out. They paid the bill and that was the end of it.
We are very friendly with our neighbors so it was a very uncomfortable situation, of course. They still put Bernie away any time kids are playing in the yard..two years later. They offered to pay and costs from the bite but, it was not necessary.
Riley did have a real fear of dogs for about a year after. I think owning two dogs helped to bring him out of that. I felt really bad for him. You could tell he did not want to be afraid but, it was tough for him.

I am glad your DD was not seriously injured. I know it is a scary situation to be in for both child and Mom. I hope she recovers really quickly!! :pixie:

11-26-2007, 10:32 AM
Thanks everyone! Stephanie, I was hoping you would reply because I know you work in an ER and would have seen your fair share of dog bites. DD is seeing her doctor this afternoon and I will definately be telling them what happened. Even though I don't want anything to happen to the dog, I will not protect her over my DD.

11-26-2007, 10:49 AM
Best wishes to your family. I was bitten in the face by my then boyfriend, now husband's dog when I was in college. It was a fairly deep bite and did require plastic surgery to correct to scarring on my nose. I know that we had to report the bite, but nothing happened to the dog. I hope she feels better, my thoughts are with you.:mickey:

11-26-2007, 10:58 AM
I agree that the laws vary per state. My dd is currently taking virology and just studied rabies so I heard all about it:blush: First concern: We haven't had a case of rabies in this country from a dog bite in many years (yes, I would fail the test I don't remember) Today most rabies is spread by bats and I know raccoons are carriers. From what I heard we were one of the few states that still require rabies every year and just recently switched to biannual shots and this is based partly on the absence of cases in dogs. So since you know the animal and it has it's shots you are safe here.
Second from what I've been told, when I was young I was bit by a little boy. His brother got mad at my brother and told his brother to bite me. The doctor was furious b/c he said a human bite is worse than a dog bite. It's my understanding that dogs have enzymes that kill bacteria therefore have cleaner mouths than humans. It gives them more protection when eating garbage etc.
Not that you wouldn't want to tend to it like any cut or puncture but my doc would have been happier if a dog had bit me and he said that so don't feel bad about that they see so much ( you know that;))
Legally the dog is viewed in many if not all states as property of the owner. I think the concern is about the spread of disease from an unvaccinated dog and danger from a vicious dog that is not restrained properly. I think that here if the bite is serious but not life threatening the owner has a choice as to what to do with the dog and can be fined if the dog was a known danger or unleashed and roaming.
The question is: is the dog a danger to others and is the owner taking steps to see that the strangers are safe?
I can't see them taking action again your cousin if you are not complaining.
Two weeks ago my dd was so down b/c they had to put a dog down, a beautiful black lab who was normally gentle but snapped at the owner's child and didn't break the skin. The owner's said they didn't want a dog that could bite someone. :( As you mentioned, I agree that any dog can bite if teased or frightened. I would bite too.
There is a lot of variance in training dogs so I can't see them being that strict b/c dogs bite ppl and other dogs all the time. My niece was bit a couple years ago by a chow who tore up her coat, she needed stitches in her arm and her dog she was walking needed surgery and the ppl were not required to put the dog down only pay the medical expenses, esp. for the dog. This was in TN.
Oh and quarantines here are only for strays when they don't know if the dog is up on its shots.
Sending :pixie: for you dd. Min. Schnauzers are smart and will pick the child that is most innocent and sweet b/c they pose less of a threat. I hope she is recovering well and there is minimal scaring. :pixie: So sorry you all had to go through all of this.

11-26-2007, 12:07 PM
Thanks Beth! It really is a minor injury. The scratches by her nose are minimal - less than 1/8 inch each and only surface scratches and healing well - no infection here. The wounds inside her mouth are more significant but still small - one is a puncture wound right where the gums meet the upper lip - it's obviously the size of a mini-schnauzer fang. The other is a gaping slash about 1/4 inch wide on the inside of the upper lip. In my nursing experience, neither will require any closure but both are beginning to show signs of infection.

As far as the laws here in PA, from my research, it seems as if the dog will be forgiven for the first offense if it is reported. I might have to have my cousin provide proof of the dog's vaccinations but beyond that, I think they are safe for now. My cousin has promised that the dog will be kept crated at family functions from now on - and I intend to hold her to it.

11-26-2007, 12:18 PM
Sorry to hear that your daughter was injured!!

There is a definite difference based on the laws of the locality where it happened. However, in general a lot depends on the past history of the dog and how hard you push to have something done about the dog. However, it is very common for the doctor to report the situation and have the dog tested for rabies and whatever other diseases they test for in that locality. It is often normal that the dog is held in protective custody until the tests come back clean. Then if all the tests are good and you don't push to have anything done about the dog then that is normally the end of things.

I don't say this to malign any police officer or department but in general most police departments have more serious things to deal with than this and unless you make a stink they will be more than happy to drop the case.

11-26-2007, 01:54 PM
So sorry to hear....and glad that your daughter is okay!

11-26-2007, 02:25 PM
I don't say this to malign any police officer or department but in general most police departments have more serious things to deal with than this and unless you make a stink they will be more than happy to drop the case.

In Virginia it's the Health Department that cares for these cases.

11-26-2007, 03:08 PM
We're home from the doctor's office. The doctor feels the wounds look just fine and are not infected. They actually do look better than this morning. The doctor asked a few non-specific questions about the dog - who's it was, if it was up-to-date on it's vaccinations, and if it has ever done this before - but she didn't take down any specific info so I guess the dog is off the hook. She did say the dog should be in a 10 day quarrantine at home and to let her know if either my DD or the dog show any signs of illness. Thank you for all the advice and the well wishes for my DD. She's feeling much better!

11-26-2007, 03:12 PM
Good to hear that it doesn't look to be serious for your daughter or the dog!! It's great when scary things like this turn out OK!

11-26-2007, 03:24 PM
Glad to hear your girl will be okay. A dog bite to the face has to be especially scary.

11-26-2007, 03:39 PM
I am glad to hear your daughter is okay! Sores on the mouth are the worst so I hope she has a speedy recovery.
I hope she won't lose her trust in other dogs because of this incident.
When I was 8 years old I was severly bitten/attacked by a dog while at my friends house and had to have extensive stitches and plastic surgery. Thankfully there was a plastic surgeon on call at the ER, my scars are barely visible. In my case, the dog was put down, but the owners agreed with it because of the severity of the attack.
I still love dogs and people are always amazed that I don't have a fear of them. I just try to remember that most dogs aren't bad!

Marilyn Michetti
11-27-2007, 09:57 AM
We were at a pool party at DH's bosses house on the 4th of July. One couple had a 22 month old boy, who was running in and out of the house. Everyone was in the pool, and there's a scream - the little boy comes running out holding his eye, and blood is everywhere. The story - the family had a pit bull puppy minding his own business, sleeping on the couch, and the tot jumped at him, in the face, and the dog bit him in the eye. Everyone at the party were medical people, except the parents of the baby, (LAWYERS).

The dog was quarentines, and I don't know what happened after that. DH's boss quit her job, and moved out of state.

The baby was sweet, and the puppy was sweet, but it shouldn't have happened. This little guy had surgery on his eye, and has a scar.

I'm sooooooo glad your DD is O.K., and that the dog won't be incarcerated.:dog:

11-27-2007, 10:24 AM
I know that here in Michigan if it wasn't a dog living in the same household, they would report it to the police to take a report; didn't mean anything would happen, but it had to be documented.

11-27-2007, 12:27 PM
Aw, your poor daughter! I'm sure it was a very good idea to get her on antibiotics, particularly as the wounds are inside the mouth.

That's the tough thing about kids and dogs--so many times the kids are eye-level, or get down to eye-level with them. And if an animal is going to display any fear aggression it will come out if someone is at face level with them. This is especially true if the child is looking them straight in the eye. One of our dogs displayed this type of fear aggression as a puppy after a small neighborhood girl (unknowingly to us) repeatedly pulled on her ears and tail as they were playing in the back yard. After that we taught our son and all the other neighborhood kids to always approach Oreo (the dog) standing straight up and to the side and to not stare into her eyes or pet her extensively around her ears. Thankfully she has outgrown her nervousness and has become comfortable with children again.