We want to believe in the best in animals, but sometimes they will act uncharacteristically aggressive, seemingly without cause. In such instances, ‘man’s best friend’ can turn into a threatening nightmare with teeth, endangering our loved ones and us. One in five dog bites across the country results in injuries needing medical attention. Dog bites in Arizona cost millions of dollars in insurance payouts every year.

What should you do if a dog bites one of your children?

In the moment, you should attempt to remain as calm as possible. Loud noises and erratic movements may excite or alarm the dog. If possible, try to shield the child from the dog, or pick up your child if they are small enough. If they are not small enough, instruct them to curl into a ball, protecting their face and neck with their arms.

If the dog bites but does not let go, lean into it, moving towards the dog. Initiating a tug of war activates an aggressive instinct in dogs. The dog may bore of the lack of struggle and let go. If the dog does not let go or comes back for additional bites, then it is time to strike back. Hitting its nose, eyes, or ears may get the dog to back off. However, fighting back may also escalate matters and should only be considered a last resort.

Is There a Requirement to Report Dog Bites in Arizona?

After the incident is over, call 911 or seek medical aid. The cuts may be minor, but there could be a risk of rabies.

Identify the dog’s owner, if possible. If they have proof of rabies vaccinations, it could save you money and your child a great deal of discomfort.

It is the duty of the victims, the dog owners, and any witnesses to contact county animal control to report the incident. While waiting for law enforcement to arrive, document and photograph evidence of the attack.

What Happens to the Dogs?

Dogs who bite people are quarantined for a minimum of ten days in Arizona pounds or veterinary hospitals. The dog may later be released to its owner if it is properly licensed, vaccinated, spayed/neutered, microchipped, and the attack took place on the dog owner’s premises. The dog owner pays all necessary fees.

A court may ultimately declare the dog to be ‘vicious,’ which could delay or cancel its release. Punishments for vicious animals range from the need for warning signs to the termination.

When Is the Dog Owner Held Liable and When Are They Not?

Negligence is not required to hold an owner liable for a dog attack. They may be held liable for damages even if the dog never showed any previous signs of aggression.

If the victim provoked the dog, the owner might not be held liable. The owner is also not likely to be held liable for dogs biting trespassers on private property.