Massachusetts and New Hampshire Personal Injury Attorneys

24 hours / 7 days a week | English | Español

Toll Free: (855) 693-9084

Local: (978) 744-8000

Dog Bite Accidents

How to Teach a Child to Avoid Dog Bites

Children are the most susceptible to dog attacks for two reasons. One, because they are small and don’t understand the limitations a dog has or the warning signs they are about to bite. Two, because a dog can often do much more damage to a child during an attack than an adult. For these reasons, it’s critical that you teach your child how to avoid dog bites.

Here are several things you need to impart on your child to keep them safe around dogs in the neighborhood.

  • Never approach a strange dog. Teach your child that if they don’t know the dog to stay away. Some dogs aren’t friendly and you often don’t know if they are or not, so it’s important to avoid the risk by staying away from dogs your child doesn’t know.
  • Watch for warning signs that a dog is agitated. If a dog is upset or feels that it is in danger, it will exhibit warning signs such as laying its ears back against its head, lowering its head to the ground, growling, and baring its teeth. Teach your child to be aware of these signals and to never make eye contact in a situation like this – simply look down towards the ground and back away slowly.
  • Never yell, hit, or approach a dog suddenly. Small children are notorious for “playing rough” with dogs, because they’re not aware of what is okay and what isn’t okay. Let your child know that hitting, yelling, or running at a dog is never okay – even if they’re playing – as this could agitate the dog and provoke an attack.
  • Curl into a ball and cover the head and neck with arms if attacked. Teach your child that if they are in a situation where they’re attacked, to yell for help and immediately curl into a ball on the ground. They should cover their head and neck with their hands and arms and curl in on themselves so the dog cannot puncture their throat or vital organs when attacking. This also protects the face from bites and disfiguration.

Teaching your child how to avoid dog bites is crucial if there are dogs in your neighborhood or even if your family has a dog, because even the sweetest, most well trained dog can attack without warning.

If your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog, you may have legal recourse against the owner of the dog who hurt your child. At Mazow | McCullough, PC, we can help you put together a claim for compensation aimed at helping you recover medical bills, lost wages from time out of work spent caring for your child, and the pain, and suffering your child has gone through and may continue to go through.

Call today for a consultation toll free at (855) 693-9084 or locally at (978) 744-8000 or contact us online.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

Dog Bites: Rabies 101

Dog bites can carry many diseases that can prove serious or even life-threatening.rabies-101-mazow-mccullough However, one disease in particular has reached a level of notoriety unmatched by others: rabies. Rabies is easily the most well-known animal related disease in popular culture, with whole films based around it, but how much do you really know about it? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions about this frightening virus.

What is Rabies?

Rabies is a virus unique to mammals. It’s primarily a neuro-virus, affecting the brain and other parts of the nervous system. Left untreated, it is universally fatal.

How is Rabies Transmitted?

Rabies is transmitted through the saliva of infected mammals, with bites being the mechanism to spread this saliva to other hosts. Other means of transmission, such as infected organ transplants, have been reported but are rarely documented.

Humans cannot spread rabies to other humans unless they are already infected by the disease. However, an animal with rabies can easily transmit the disease to a human through a single bite.

What are the Symptoms of Rabies?

Rabies first manifests in a manner similar to the flu—general discomfort, weakness, fever and/or headaches.

If left untreated, these symptoms progress to the more well-known symptoms of rabies: mental dysfunction, anxiety, confusion, and agitation. This leads to delirium, abnormal and aggressive behavior, hallucinations, and insomnia. Rabies also causes the body to overproduce saliva (as the principle mechanism of the virus’s spread) and causes difficulty swallowing. This overproduction of saliva is what gives rabid animals the appearance of foaming at the mouth. Perhaps as a combination of this, late-stage rabies is often marked by hydrophobia—the fear of water—due to an inability to drink properly.

How Long Does Rabies Take to Affect the Body or be Fatal?

Rabies works quickly—the disease becomes acute after 2 to 10 days. If the symptoms of rabies appear, the chances of the victim’s survival become slim.

Can Rabies be Cured?

Yes, but success depends heavily on catching and treating it as early as possible. Once the symptoms manifest, survival becomes incredibly unlikely. This is why it is vital to seek medical attention immediately when you have been bitten by a wild animal, an ownerless or stray dog, or by any animal that might have the possibility of being infected.

If you haven’t been exposed to rabies before, your doctor should vaccinate you with the rabies vaccine and passive antibodies to help your body fight the disease.

If you have been previously exposed and treated, or have been previously vaccinated, you should only receive the vaccine. Your body should know how to produce the antibodies necessary already.

In either case, you will need multiple vaccines at regular intervals to fully combat and treat the disease. If your doctor or hospital is unable to arrange regularly scheduled treatments, make sure that they arrange treatments with another facility or with the government so you continue to receive treatment.

There are treatments available to people who are suffering from the symptoms of rabies, but these are rarely successful. Again, if you are bitten by a wild or aggressive animal, seek treatment immediately.

What Should I Do if my Dog Was Bitten by a Rabid Animal and It Wasn’t Properly Immunized?

If you didn’t have your dog vaccinated against rabies, and you have reason to suspect that it was bitten by an animal carrying rabies, the CDC recommends that you have your pet euthanized immediately.

Obviously, that is a traumatizing recommendation, and a lot of owners will have trouble doing so without explicit proof that the attacking animal is rabid, as it can be unclear without testing. In those cases, the CDC advises owners to put their dog under quarantine for at least six months for observation, and to vaccinate it at least a month before the quarantine ends.

What is the Best Way to Prevent Rabies Infections?

The best way to control rabies among people is to control rabies in our pets. Dog bites are the most common cause of rabies cases in the United States, with children being the most common victims. Keep up to date and diligent about your dog’s rabies vaccines and make sure they are supervised when outdoors. Additionally, spaying or neutering your pets will reduce the number of unwanted stray animals, who are more likely to become infected and transmit the disease.


If you’ve been bitten by a dog and suffered from high medical costs, lost wages, or emotional trauma as a result, the experienced dog bite attorneys of Mazow | McCullough, PC can help you obtain the legal settlement you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.

All information sourced from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

What to Do If You Were Bitten by a Dog You Work With

Working with dogs can be extremely rewarding. However, because dogs can be unpredictable animals and they may attack or bite for no apparent reason. Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite can be challenging, especially if you need emergency medical care. Dog bite claims that involve your place of employment can be particularly complicated, so it’s important to consult with experienced dog bite attorneys to learn about your legal options.


Situations Where Workers Can Be Bitten by Dogs

Many people work with dogs on a daily basis. The most common examples are people who work at animal shelters or humane societies, or people who train service dogs such as law enforcement training K-9 officers.

Workers’ Compensation

Anytime you are hurt at work – be it by a dog or some other way – you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits may cover some of your lost wages as you heal and may reimburse medical expenses that are related to the injury. However, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover everything and you may still be left in a financial bind even after obtaining benefits.

Was Your Place of Employment Negligent?

You may have a case against your employer if they were negligent in a way that directly resulted in your injury. If, for example, your place of employment failed to properly train you on how to handle dogs or they failed to keep a dog known to be aggressive under strict supervision, they may be able to be held liable for your injuries if you were bitten.

When to Contact an Attorney

If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite while on the job, it’s important to know your rights. Contacting an attorney who has experience in dog bite claims is key. Your lawyer can examine the evidence available in your case to determine if your employer – or someone else – can be held liable for the damages you received as a result of your injury.

Don’t hesitate to reach out for legal help after a dog bite. Dog bite law can be complicated and much of it is based on case law determined by verdicts on dog bite cases that occurred before your own. You don’t have to navigate the complex world of personal injury and dog bite law alone.

At Mazow | McCullough, PC, our dog bite attorneys can help you explore the possibility of obtaining compensation for your injuries and suffering through a dog bite claim. Call today for a consultation at (855) 693-9084 or (978) 744-8000.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

The Risk of Infection from Dog Bites

Of the 4.7 million dog bites that occur every year in the U.S., 18% — nearly 1 in 5 – become infected after not getting treated. Some dog bite infections are minor and can be treated at home, but others are more serious and may require immediate medical attention.


Minor Infections from Dog Bites

Dog bites are likely to become infected due to the amount of bacteria that live in a dog’s mouth. While most of this bacteria is harmless to humans, it only takes one of the few dangerous strains that pose a threat to you to make you sick.

Relatively minor dog bite infections can be caused by several types of bacteria. For example, Capnocytophaga spp. is a weak bacteria that rarely harms people; you could be infected with it and never feel sick. However, it can present more risk to people with compromised immune systems or preexisting medical conditions.

Another potential infector is the Pasteurella bacterium, which is found in 50% of all infected dog bites. Usually, Pasteurella simply causes a painful but local infection around the bite wound. In some circumstances, however, it can cause more dangerous symptoms such as swollen glands, painful joints, and difficulty moving. Any of these symptoms should be examined and treated by a medical professional as soon as possible.

Major Infections from Dog Bites

Dog bites can also cause life-threatening diseases, the most well-known and terrifying of which is the rabies virus. Affecting the brain and causing a wide array of dangerous symptoms, rabies is fatal if left untreated. Thankfully, efforts over the past century have reduced the number of domestic animals with rabies to around 7%, and only 1 to 3 cases of human rabies are reported annually. However, statistics are not a safeguard. If you have been bitten by a dog, you should bring the animal in for testing if possible. If the animal tests negative, you will not need rabies treatment. However, if the animal tests positive or you are unable to bring in the animal and determine its rabies status, it’s critical to begin treatment for rabies immediately.

Less prominent but no less dangerous potential infections include MRSA, a powerful strain of Staph bacteria that is unaffected by ordinary antibiotics. MRSA requires extensive medical attention and a battery of unique antibiotics, as it can be as life-threatening as rabies. Dog bites can also transmit tetanus, which can cause paralysis.

Signs of Infection

When a dog bite punctures the skin, you are at an increased risk for the wound to become infected. The signs of infection include pain or soreness around the injury site, redness, swelling, drainage of pus or fluid, or the development of a fever.

Additionally, loss of sensation around the wound, red streaks emanating from the wound, night sweats, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and the limited use of limbs near the wound are signs of a potentially life-threatening infection.

Preventing Infection from a Dog Bite

To care for a minor bite at home, wash the wound carefully with warm, soapy water, then apply antibiotic cream and cover with a bandage or wrap. Try and keep the injury elevated. If the wound becomes inflamed at any time or you develop a fever, seek immediate medical attention. For deeper wounds, apply firm pressure with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding, and it is recommended you call 911 or visit your local emergency room right away. Dog bites are often deeper than they appear, and it is better to exercise caution when faced with such injuries.

If you were bitten by a dog that you do not know or may appear to have rabies, or if it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention.

If you were attacked by an unfamiliar dog and the owner is present, obtain the owner’s information, even if the attack seems minor. You should also notify animal control or the police to ensure that the owner has taken steps to prevent the dog from attacking someone again.

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, you may be eligible for compensation. The experienced dog bite attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, P.C. can inform you of your legal options and assist you in pursuing your claim for maximum financial restitution. Call today for a free consultation.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

There’s a Loose Dog–What Should I Do to Avoid Bites?

The majority of dog bites come from dogs we know. While this can be scary in its own right, it doesn’t match the fear that comes from being attacked by a loose, owner-less dog. There is no way to tell whether they are naturally aggressive or sick, and an aggressive dog can put you and your family in jeopardy. Here’s what you need to know in order to best safeguard your loved ones.

Distance is Key

Above all else, if you see a dog that doesn’t appear to have an owner, looks unkempt or dirty, or is displaying strange behavior, do not approach it under any circumstances. Stay as far away from it as you can. If you are near your home, you and your family should calmly and quietly go inside and securely close the doors. It is recommended that you immediately call your local Animal Control department to have the dog safely removed. Consider alerting your neighbors to the dog so they can also take precautions.

Follow Best Practices When Dealing with Dogs

If a loose dog approaches you, remain as calm as possible. The next steps you take can either increase or decrease the chances that the dog will attack you.

First, do not scream at the dog or try to run away from it. Screaming might startle or agitate the dog, increasing the chances of a violent reaction. Running might provoke the dog to chase you.

Instead, remain still if the dog approaches you and try not to make sudden movements. Dogs respond to movement and may interpret your actions as a threat.

Do not directly face a loose dog while standing still—the dog may consider this an act of aggression and attack. Keep yourself turned to the side. Additionally, dogs use eye contact as a way of asserting dominance over one another, so avoid making eye contact with the animal.

If the dog doesn’t seem to be aggressive when it approaches you, you could try telling it “No” or “Go Home” in a deep, authoritative voice. The dog may respond to this and leave you alone.

The dog will probably lose interest in you over time and will begin to wander off. When it does so, back away from it slowly and calmly until you are out of the dog’s line of sight. If you turn your back on the dog, you may be caught off guard if it does decide to attack. Once you are out of sight, quickly seek safety and call Animal Control.

Children are harmed by dogs more than adults, so teaching your children what to do if they see a loose dog is crucial to their safety.

Know What to Do If a Loose Dog Attacks

Unfortunately, even if you do everything correctly, a loose dog may still attack you. If it does, there are some techniques you can use to protect yourself.

If you have the opportunity, try to “feed” the dog an item that you have on you—your coat, purse, backpack—anything that will help to create distance between you and the dog’s bites.

If the dog knocks you down, quickly curl up into the fetal position and cover your ears with your hands. Even more importantly, use your arms to cover your neck. Dogs will instinctually aim for the jugular vein—if it is punctured, it can result in significant blood loss and quite possibly death. Covering your neck with your arms will protect this area, while covering your ears will prevent the dog from potentially damaging them. Your arms may be injured during the attack, but it is much less likely that these injuries will be life threatening.

If you continue to remain still and curled in the fetal position while protecting your neck and ears, it is likely the dog will eventually lose interest in attacking you and wander off. Once the dog is out of sight, you should get up carefully and seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites can cause more damage than may be readily apparent. A dog’s sharp teeth can cause deep puncture wounds that look less serious on the outside, but have actually significantly damaged internal tissues. Additionally, a dog’s saliva is bacteria-laden and diseases like rabies are a concern. Don’t hesitate to go to the hospital or to your family doctor after being attacked by a dog.

Call Professional Dog Bite Lawyers

Dog bite injuries can be devastating physically, emotionally, and financially. If you or a loved one have been injured by a loose dog, you may have several legal options available to you. The skilled dog bite attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, P.C. can help you obtain justice and compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

Summer Dog Bites—What to Watch For

It’s summer, and while that means cookouts, beach trips, and outdoor fun, it also means there’s a greater risk of dog attacks. Every year, 4.5 million Americans, half of them small children, are bitten by a dog and the number of attacks tends to rise with the temperature. Whether being outside more increases our exposure to strange dogs or some dogs simply become more aggressive in the heat, it’s important to exercise caution in the summer. Here’s how to reduce the chances of a dog bite while enjoying the warm weather with your family.


Look Out For Your Own Dog

While it may be hard to believe, the CDC reports that over half of all dog bites come from dogs that are familiar to us. They could be the dogs of our friends and neighbors, or even your own household pet. It’s important to do all you can to make sure your dog doesn’t overheat in the summer sun. Never leave your dog unattended outside or unattended with your children. If you or your children are playing with your dog outside, give them plenty of opportunities to rest indoors or in the shade, and ensure that they have access to clean water. Pay attention to signs of aggression from your pet, such as becoming stiff, growling, snapping, or snarling. These might be signs that they need space.

Teach Your Children Dog Safety

Children naturally love dogs, but they often don’t understand how rough they are with them or how dangerous pets can be when agitated. Taking the time to teach your children how to be gentle with dogs and approach them respectfully can reduce the chances of them getting bit. Furthermore, it’s important to educate your children about asking owners if it is okay to pet their dog and not to approach animals they don’t know, especially animals who are without an owner.

Avoid Strange Dogs

Dogs without a clear owner might be wild or sick. They can carry serious diseases and cause grievous harm. If a strange dog approaches you or your children this summer, remain calm. Do not panic or shout at the dog, as this can provoke the animal. Back away from the dog slowly and do not make eye contact with it—the dog could interpret that as a sign of aggression. If you are in a public space such as park or beach, move to a new area or leave altogether. If the dog has entered your yard, move everyone inside and shut the door. In both cases, consider calling your local animal control office to inform them of the incident.

Know What To Do If A Dog Attacks

Even if you do everything you can to avoid provoking a dog, you or your children could still be bitten. If that happens, make sure you know the proper first aid techniques to deal with the wound. In general, it is a good idea to seek medical attention for a dog bite right away, even if the wound seems superficial. Dog bites can appear shallower than they actually are and could puncture muscles, bones, and nerves. You should especially consider seeking medical attention if the dog is unknown to you and does not appear to have an owner, or if your child is bitten. Rabies is a concern if it cannot be verified that the animal has not had its rabies vaccinations or that the animal tests negative for rabies. If the dog does have an owner, try to obtain information about the dog’s vaccination history and any similar incidents in the past.

Exercising caution can greatly reduce the chances of a dog bite this summer. If you have any questions about dog bite law or if you or a loved one are bitten by a dog, don’t hesitate to contact a dog bite lawyer at Mazow | McCullough today for a consultation at (855) 693-9084.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

Reduce the Risk Your Dog Will Bite

Although dogs have earned the title of “man’s best friend,” sometimes dogs can be aggressive and will bite another person. This can create a host of problems, including a liability lawsuit if the victim of the bite brings forward a claim for damages. Prevention is key when it comes to dog bites, and it’s important as a responsible dog owner to take action to keep your dog from biting in the first place. Here’s how you can reduce the risk that your dog will bite or attack.

Spay or Neuter Your Dog

Studies have shown that most dog bites were done by a dog that had not been spayed or neutered.

Supervise Your Dog

Always supervise your dog when around other people, especially children. Teach children who are going to constantly be around the dog to treat him/her gently and with respect. Let them know that sometime the dog will need their space and that they have to respect that.

Socialize Your Dog

It is very important to expose your dog to its surroundings. Introduce him/her to new people and other dogs. This will greatly diminish any fears that your dog may have of the outside world, which will in turn make him/her less likely to be fearful and frightened which can cause them to lash out. One important rule to remember when socializing your dog is to take it slow. If you see that your dog may need more time dealing with certain scenarios, ease back and let him/her progress at their own pace. You do not want your dog to become so uncomfortable and frightened that he lashes out and bites someone.

Make Your Dog a Part of Your Family

Don’t keep your dog tied up in the backyard all day. This can make your dog feel lonely and defenseless. When dogs feel defenseless, due to being constantly restrained and not being able to move freely they are more likely to bite.

Be On the Lookout

Be vigilant toward common triggers that may make your dog uncomfortable and cause him/her to lash out and bite. Try to avoid putting your dog in these situations. After all, we all need a little help when it comes to staying out of trouble when situations are less than favorable.

By taking action to reduce the risk of your dog biting, you can rest assured that your dog most likely won’t attack. If you have questions about dog bite law or what to do in the event of a dog bite, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer at Mazow | McCullough today.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

How to Protect Your Children From Dog Attacks

A dog attack can be devastating and even deadly, especially to a child. A dog can inflict serious injuries, including deep scratches and large bite wounds. Often, dog bites get infected, posing a serious health risk. Here’s how you can protect your children from potential dog attacks.

John Maher:  Hi I’m John Maher and today I am here with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the law firm Mazow | McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts in New Hampshire.

Robert and Kevin have great deal of experience as dog bite attorneys and today we are going to be talking about how to protect your children from dog attacks.

Robert and Kevin welcome.

Robert Mazow:  Thank you.

Kevin McCullough:  Good morning John.

Are Children at a Higher Risk for Dog Attacks?

John:  Are children more at risk for a dog attack than adults?

Robert:  John, the dog bite cases that we see in children tend to be more serious because they tend to occur in the facial area. Obviously, children would be more likely to be lower to the ground in the dog’s attack range, so the cases we see are damages to children eyes, their cheeks, and really deep tissue kinds of injuries.

John:  Right. Is the dog bite then more dangerous in a child than in an adult typically?

Robert:  I don’t know if more dangerous necessarily. If the dog has a propensity to be dangerous, the dog is going to be dangerous. But I think the child is more likely to approach a dog without the fear or built in protection that an adult might have.

John:  Adults tend to be more cautious and maybe even like think to ask the owner, “Is it OK if I pet this dog?” whereas the child will just go up and just do it.

Robert:  Exactly. So we tend to see that a child might startle the dog, even a dog that does not necessarily have danger propensity, and every dog is going to react differently.

If a child approaches them quickly, a dog could turn around and latch onto their face or their upper body or their arms very quickly.

John:  That’s another problem too. I think that because kids are obviously shorter than adults typically, dog bites probably tend to be more in upper body and in the face and the neck and areas like that, whereas with an adult it might be more the legs or the hands.

Robert:  Exactly. In adults, we do see some facial injures if they’re down on the ground, perhaps playing with the dog, but more likely in an adult, we are going to see [injuries on] the arms and hands, because they’re fending off the dog or maybe they approaching the dog from that angle.

How Can a Parent Help Prevent Dog Attacks?

John:  OK. How can a parent help to prevent a dog from attacking their child?

Kevin:  Parents can be mindful of the type of dog that they let their children around, whether it’s a dog that they own or whether they’re visiting friends and family and relatives.

Just be cautious and make sure that they don’t leave their kids alone in a room with the dog. Make sure that they don’t sneak up from behind on the dog and startle the dog as Robert had mentioned. Because children are smaller, they tend to approach the dog at eye level.

That’s something that the dog may feel threatened by and may feel the need to react to defend itself. So, just be mindful of that where you are at, the type of dogs that may be there, and take the appropriate steps to keep your children away from dogs that may be dangerous or known to be dangerous.

John:  Right.

Robert:  Just adding on to that, I think a parent telling a child early on to be mindful of dogs, to make sure they speak with the owner or the person handling the dog before they even attempt to approach the dog or try to pet the dog.

John:  Right. Without scaring a child, because you obviously you don’t want a kid to just be growing up and be afraid of animals. But give them a little bit of cautious approach to it where, you definitely ask the owner if it’s OK if you pet the dog.

Make sure you put your hand out a little bit for the dog and wait for them to come to you. Teach your child a little bit of those standard ways to approach an animal that we’ve all learned. I think it is probably a good thing to do.

Robert:  Exactly.

What to Do If Your Child Is Bitten by a Dog

John:  What should a parent do then in the event that their child is bitten by a dog?

Kevin:  A parent should get the immediate appropriate medical attention for the child and that should be in response to the type of bite or the type of dog attack, obviously.

If it’s something very extensive or severe, get immediate medical treatment, listen to the doctors, follow up with the pediatrician for the child and also do the follow up in communicating with the dog owner or the location where the dog incident occurred.

Take the appropriate steps to contact the police, gather witness information but specifically for the medical treatment, get the treatment that is appropriate with that bite, whether it’s going to the hospital or just following up with a pediatrician or both.

Ultimately, with severe bites it may require some scar revision and following up with plastic surgeons.

John:  Right. All right that’s really great information Robert and Kevin thanks for meeting to speak with me today.

Robert:  Thank you.

Kevin:  Thank you.

John:  For more information on dog bite cases or other personal injury cases visit the firm’s website at or call 855-693-9084.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

How to React When You Are Bitten by a Neighbor’s Dog

Dog bites often occur from dogs that the victim knows or has come into contact with in the past, like a neighbor’s dog. However, it can be difficult to know what steps to take if a friend’s or neighbor’s dog bites you. Here’s how you should react.

John Maher:  Hi I’m John Maher and today I’m here with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the law firm of Mazow | McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Robert and Kevin have a great deal of experience as dog bite attorneys, and today we are going to be talking about how to react when you’re bitten by a friend or a neighbor’s dog.

Robert and Kevin welcome.

Kevin McCullough:  Thank you, John.

Robert Mazow:  Thank you, John.

What Should You Do If You’re Bitten by a Neighbor’s Dog?

John:  What should a person do if they are bitten by a friend or a neighbor’s dog? Obviously, there’s not just some stranger, you want to react in a certain way that doesn’t go overboard. You still have to live next to these people and you want to have a good relationship with your neighbors obviously, for obvious reasons.

What’s the reaction that you ought to have?

Kevin:  There is some sensitivity here with this particular scenario, and you want to be mindful of the relationship that you or your child may have with that friend or neighbor. In the same respect, the friend or neighbor who owns the dog, if an attack or bite occurs, [that person] needs to be considerate for the person who was bitten.

John:  Sure.

Kevin:  Any reaction should be proportionate to the type of incident or the extent of severity of the incident. Certainly, the communication should be open if it’s a friend or neighbor.

If in fact, if the friend or neighbor is unwilling to share information, that may [indicate] that there were some prior incidents in the past that they worried about coming to light and what may happen with the dog.

You do want to be careful and considerate as a victim of a dog bite or dog attack when dealing with a friend or a neighbor. But you’d also want to obtain as much information as you can, specifically in regards to whether or not the dog is up to date its rabies shots, tetanus shots, and things of that nature with the trial or the victim.

Just to make sure the injuries could be treated properly, the medical bills that are incurred can be paid for appropriately, whether it’s through the homeowners insurance for the dog owner, the friend or neighbor, or the health insurance coverage for person that may be bit.

Does a Dog Owner Have to Pay Out of Pocket When Their Dog Bites?

John:  Will the owner then have to pay the settlement out of their own pocket?

Kevin:  It really depends in the proximity or the location where the bite occurred. Homeowners’ coverage for the dog owner may provide coverage to a limited extent for medical bills if the attack or bite occurs on their property.

If the bite or attack occurs off of their property, that homeowners’ coverage wouldn’t be applicable for that. So the homeowner would then hope that the homeowners’ insurance coverage, their liability coverage may come and deploy to help with those medical bills.

If the dog owner or property owner where the bite occurs does not have homeowners’ coverage, it may, in fact, lead to out-of-pocket expenses paid to the dog bite victim, being presented to that person personally and they would have to pay out of pocket.

John:  Right. That’s something to certainly think about, because if you have a good relationship with your neighbor, it’s difficult to think about making them pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

On the other hand, if that’s what happened and your child is injured or something like that, you obviously need to get those expenses reimbursed somehow.

Kevin:  Yes. We do see this very frequently and that’s why with our office in our handling of this particular cases we are extremely mindful of the dynamic of the relationship between the dog owner and the dog bite victim.

We are not the type of a law firm that would immediately rush to file a lawsuit because while you can file a lawsuit, it’s a type of thing that we investigate the claim including the damages involved as well as the insurance information for the dog owner.

Oftentimes the dog owner does have insurance and it can be resolved amicably with the insurance company, with presenting the claim and presenting the claim properly. However, if, in fact, there is either a denial of coverage or an issue regarding the value of the case or a claim or the extent of the injuries or damages, we would file that lawsuit.

We would do that by communicating with the client, keeping them informed and it would be a decision they would make, ultimately whether or not to file a lawsuit or pursue that claim, based upon their relationship with the dog owner.

What Will Happen to Your Neighbor’s Dog If They Bite?

John:  Right. What could happen to the dog who bit me or who bit my child?

Kevin:  That is really an issue up to the local town or city and the animal control officer within that town or city. Oftentimes, we do receive telephone calls with inquiries regarding what could happen to the dog.

That’s not really a decision that can be made by the dog victim alone, or our office for that matter. That’s something that it really depends upon the history of the dog.

Whether or not they have prior incidents in the past and whether or not they’ve attacked or bitten in the past. The type of dog involved [matters], and each town and city has different requirements or laws in place in regards to what they may allow a dog owner to get away with or to have for a type of dog and how many incidents can occur before they may take action.

John:  Right, right. Robert anything to add in terms of dealing with neighbors in these types of cases?

Robert:  As Kevin said, we’re sensitive to the issue. Most of the cases that we see, however, if the owner’s dog has caused some damage to their friend or neighbor’s child or the friend or neighbor themselves, we tend to see a willingness on the part of the dog owners to do what they need to do to make it right. If that is hopefully through some sort of a homeowners insurance coverage, great.

If it turns out that there are medical bills that are owed, we tend to see most people step up and do what they need to do and make sure that the victim is not [paying] significant medical bills out-of-pocket.

John:  Right. It’s probably a good idea to go into a situation like that, assuming the best out of people and that people are probably going to do what they’re supposed to do and only take action if you need to.

Robert:  Right. If they’re a true friend, they’re going to tend to do the right thing to do.

John:  All right that’s great advice, Robert and Kevin, thanks for speaking with me today.

Kevin:  Thank you, John.

Robert:  Thanks, John.

John:  For more information on dog bite cases or other personal injury cases, visit the law firm’s website at, or call 855-693-9084.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

What to Do If You Don’t Know Who Owns the Dog That Bit You

If you are bitten by a stray dog and don’t know who owns the dog that bit you, do you have legal recourse? How can you recover financial compensation for the medical bills and other damages you’ve incurred as a result of the bite? Here’s what you need to know.

John Maher:  Hi I’m John Maher. Today I’m here with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the law firm of Mazow | McCullough, a personal injury law firm with offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Robert and Kevin have a great deal experience as dog bite attorneys and today we are going to be talking about what to do if you don’t know who owns the dog that bit you. Robert and Kevin, welcome.

Robert Mazow:  Thank you, John.

Kevin McCullough:  Thank you, John.

What Should You Do If The Dog That Bit You Is a Stray?

John:  What should a dog bite victim do if they aren’t sure who owns the dog that attacked?

Robert:  This can be a very difficult and challenging situation. Sometimes we’ve seen people walking in their town and the dog is loose and does an attack and then the dog takes off. The first and foremost issue obviously is to seek medical attention, but if possible, snap a picture of the dog.

Certainly go to the local police department or contact the local police department to explain what happened, to explain as best as possible what the dog looked like. It’s possible this is [a dangerous dog] that’s known to the local authorities.

We’ve seen people who have been bitten go back to the scene at a later date to see if possibly the dog could return or perhaps the owner returns with the dog.

John:  Maybe they stay in that certain area.

Robert:  It’s possible but, certainly it’s a very difficult situation if a person is been bitten or attacked by a dog and then there is no identification for the owner or who the keeper of the dog is.

Will a Dog Bite Victim Need a Rabies Shot If Records Can’t Be Verified?

John:  If you can’t find the dog, does that mean that rabies shots might be necessary, if the dog’s owner can’t be located?

Robert:  Those are challenging situations if you’ve been bitten by a dog, and certainly you need to go seek medical attention. If you cannot identify that animal, the hospital or the doctor is going to have to administer the rabies situation just out of precaution.

John:  Right, right. Because there’s no way to know and you can’t wait until you start to see the symptoms, [because then] it’s too late.

Robert:  That’s absolutely correct.

Can a Dog Bite Claim Be Brought Forward if You Don’t Know the Owner?

John:  Is it possible to bring forward a claim then if the owner of the dog remains unknown? How does that happen?

Kevin:  Unfortunately, John it is not possible to bring a claim if you do not know who the dog owner or the dog keeper was. That is something to keep in mind knowing that in Massachusetts, you not only have an action against the dog owner, but also the keeper of the dog.

So as Robert had mentioned, if you’re in the unfortunate situation of a dog bite or a dog attack, to the extent that you can, try to obtain any witness information from anybody that anybody that may have been present.

That person may know who the dog belongs to, who the dog owner was, or may have seen the dog with someone a few moments ago and be able to provide a description to the responding police officer.

So be extremely mindful of any witnesses on the scene, and if you have the ability, take a picture of the dog itself or of any people near the dog to show to the police.

Sometimes dogs get lost and you’ll see a picture of a dog owner on the telephone pole, and if you do a proper investigation and you get lucky, you may find or track down that dog owner or that dog keeper. But in Massachusetts, if you don’t know who that dog owner or dog keeper was, you do not have the ability to present the claim.

Who Pays for the Medical Bills If You Don’t Know the Owner of the Dog That Bit You?

John:  If I end up with a lot of medical bills because of a dog bite and I don’t know that dog and I can’t find them, do I have any kind of ability to pay for my bills? Is it just my medical insurance that’s going to cover that?

Robert:  That’s correct John. In that situation, if you do have private health insurance, they would process medical bills according to your health plan. You would be subject to those core pays or deductibles and those would come out of pocket to you.

If you do not have health insurance, when you’re getting the medical treatment at the hospital or medical provider’s office, you should make some inquiries in regards to free care or signing up for mass health, things of that nature.

If you are in a situation like that, you don’t have any dog information and you do not have health insurance, communicate that to the medical staff and let them know. They will do what they can to try to help you to mitigate those medical bills or find a source to try to help pay them for you.

John:  All right. That’s really great advice. Robert and Kevin, Thank you for speaking with me today.

Robert:  Thank you John.

Kevin:  Thank you, John.

John:  For more information on dog bite cases or other, personal injury case, visit the firm’s website at or call 855-693-9084.

Guide To Dog Bite Law E-Book

FREE CASE EVALUATION No Obligation Consultation

Fill out my online form.

FEATURED VIDEOAbout Mazow | McCullough, PC