What to Do if Your Child is Bitten by a Dog

Dog bites can happen in the blink of an eye. As difficult as it is to watch your child suffer, it can also be difficult to figure out what to do next, especially when a dog bites a child unprovoked. What happens when a dog bites a child, and can an irresponsible dog owner be held accountable?

Immediately After a Dog Bites a Child

dog biting handThe first thing to do after a dog bite is to ensure the safety of the child. Make sure to separate them and the dog, and check the child for injuries. If the bite has broken the skin at all, you will need to take your child to a doctor or hospital to seek medical attention to prevent infection. A dog bite on a child’s face is especially serious, as head wounds tend to bleed more. A bite to the face can also leave permanent scarring. 

Once you have evaluated your child’s injuries, identify the dog’s owner or handler. Ask them for their name and address, along with proof of rabies vaccination. Take photos of the child’s injuries as soon as possible. 

Does My Child Need a Tetanus Shot After a Dog Bite?

Dog bite treatment for a child will depend largely on the condition of the dog that bit them. If the owner is unable to produce proof of rabies vaccination, your child may need to have a series of rabies shots. Tetanus shots are not usually administered after a dog bites a child; however, if the bite is deemed high-risk or the child has not had a tetanus vaccine in the past 10 years, a tetanus shot may be necessary.

Can CPS Take My Child Away for a Dog Bite?

Unless the dog belongs to your family or there are signs of abuse when the child is treated, CPS is unlikely to get involved. Their primary goal is to make sure that children are safe, so if there does not appear to be an ongoing threat to your child’s safety, you most likely will not need to worry about any CPS involvement. However, the hospital staff is required to report all dog bites so animal control will look into the bite circumstances.

Call Animal Control

An animal control officer can conduct an immediate investigation to determine whether the dog is vaccinated and whether is a dangerous animal. You need to identify the correct animal control department for the location where the bite occurred and call them as soon as possible after the bite. Their investigation may uncover valuable evidence that would otherwise be lost.

How Can You Hold an Irresponsible Dog Owner Accountable?

Once your child has received medical care, your attention may turn to the dog’s owner. What can you do to hold them legally responsible and recover some of the costs associated with dog bite injuries?

First, you need to file a dog bite report with the local authorities. Houston requires that all dog bites be reported by calling 311. After a report is filed, contact a child dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Texas’s dog bite laws can make child dog bite cases difficult to navigate. Texas follows the “one-bite rule,” which necessitates proof that the dog has bitten someone in the past or displayed hostile behavior, making the owner aware of its tendencies toward biting. 

Part of a child dog bite attorney’s job is to help you prove that the owner of the dog that attacked your child should have been aware of the dog’s propensity to bite and failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate an attack from occurring. When you meet with a child dog bite lawyer at Simmons & Fletcher, P.C., they will help compile the following to determine whether you have a case against the dog owner:

  • Medical records from hospital visits after the bite
  • Photos of your child’s injuries
  • Information regarding previous attacks and aggression in the dog’s history
  • Evidence showing the dog owner’s negligence if the dog was not properly restrained or enclosed

Speak With a Dog Bite Lawyer Today

If your child was bitten by another’s dog, contact our dog bite attorneys today for a free legal consultation. You may be eligible for compensation for your child’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.