How to Report a Dog Bite in Los Angeles County

How to Report a Dog Bite in Los Angeles County

According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 50,000 animal bites, including dog bites, are reported in California each year. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, you need to know your options and how to file a report.

LA Century Law explains:

  • How to report a dog bite in Los Angeles County
  • When you must report
  • What happens when you report
  • Legal rights for dog bite victims

Reporting a Dog Bite in Los Angeles County

To report a dog bite in Los Angeles County, contact Los Angeles County Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control:

Online: Los Angeles County Animal Bite Report Form

Phone: (213) 288-7060

Fax: (213) 481-2373

Email: vet@ph.lacounty.gov

When reporting by email or fax, you may use the Animal Bite Reporting Form for Medical Facilities and Members of the Public, which is a fillable PDF.

The Los Angeles County Veterinary Public Health website notes that a veterinarian is on call during business hours (Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.). If you’re reporting by phone, you may be restricted to those hours. If you’re in one of the following locations, you may report to the local humane society:

Pasadena – Pasadena Humane Society – (626) 792-7151

Long Beach – Long Beach Animal Control – (562) 570-7387

Vernon – City of Vernon – (323) 583-8811 (ask for the Health Department)

If you’re outside of Los Angeles County, you may report the bite to your local animal control.

Do you have to report a dog bite in Los Angeles County?

Anytime a dog bites a person in Los Angeles County, it must be reported. 17 California Code Regs. § 2606 requires bites from mammals, including domestic and wild animals, to be reported to local health officials.

Who must report a dog bite in Los Angeles County?

Anyone with knowledge of a dog bite should report it to the local health officer in Los Angeles County. The law says that “any person knowing the whereabouts of an animal” that is responsible for a bite must report it.

Do doctors have to report dog bites in Los Angeles?

Yes. Doctors in California must report a dog bite when they know the bite. Los Angeles County Veterinary Public Health provides forms for medical facilities and veterinary clinics.

What if the animal doesn’t have rabies? Do I have to report then?

State regulations require dog bite reporting even if the animal is not suspected of having rabies.

After You Report a Dog Bite

When you report a dog bite, the following process is set in motion:

  • The public health agency investigates.
  • Local officials may delegate the investigation to staff members, municipalities, private humane societies, and other groups.
  • The response and investigation will vary based on the circumstances of the incident.
  • An investigation should verify the accuracy of the report, assess public health risks, help the victim obtain health care, and mitigate future risks.

Possible outcomes of a dog bite investigation include quarantine, a determination of viciousness (which may lead to termination), a determination of potentially dangerous (which may result in placement on a list), and issuance of fines or criminal charges.

California law requires the owner or person controlling the dog to provide their name, contact information, and animal license tag to the victim or their responsible adult in case of a minor. If it is an animal that requires a rabies vaccination, the owner must provide vaccination information.

Failing to provide this information is punishable by a fine under California Penal Code § 398.

If a mischievous animal roams at large or is negligently kept and serious bodily harm results, the owner may be charged under California Penal Code § 399 with a misdemeanor or felony. A victim may exercise their legal right to pursue compensation regardless of whether authorities issue criminal charges. (California Civ. Code § 3342).

Where can you obtain emergency care after a dog bite?

There are dozens of emergency and urgent care facilities in the Los Angeles area. Los Angeles County Health Services provides a list of urgent care centers on their website. Seek medical attention that is appropriate for the situation whether it is emergency or urgent care. The medical care that you receive documents your injuries and may be helpful in your efforts to seek compensation.

Legal rights after you report a dog bite

California imposes strict liability for dog bites – if you’re bitten by a dog, you may be eligible for compensation under the law. A lawyer can assist you in filing your case.

Talk to a Lawyer

At LA Century Law, we help people bitten by dogs receive the compensation they deserve. Contact us now.

What Are “Dog Bite” Laws In California?

It is estimated that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The number of dog bites per year has become so common that states such as California have enacted legislation to help protect their population.

In 1931, California enacted a strict liability law for dog bites. This law, California Civil Code 3342, supplanted the “one-bite rule” in California.

California Civil Code 3342 states the following:

“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

This means, if a dog bites someone, it is a strict liability issue. The law places responsibility on the owner for all damages resulting from the dog bite, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.

As a result, a plaintiff does not need to prevail on a theory of negligence to recover damages.

Are you the victim of a dog bite?

Call our office to speak with an LA Century Law attorney about your case.

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