When you adopt a dog from a shelter or humane society, you expect that the dog has met basic criteria, meaning that it has not been shown to be aggressive and hasn’t bit or attacked anyone.
However, many shelters and humane societies engage in the practice of “dog laundering,” a term coined by an attorney who practices dog bite law exclusively, to describe when a dog’s history of aggression or attacking is covered up by the shelter and the dog is re-homed. Finding out that a dog you adopted and who bit you was aggressive in the past and you were not informed can be a shock and is a situation that warrants immediate action.
How can you prevent dog laundering and what should you do if you are bitten by a dog that you suspect has been laundered?
If a Dog Bites You, Be Honest
Returning a dog to the shelter from which you adopted it can be a challenging process. This is particularly true if the dog has bitten or attacked you. Returning a dog to the shelter can be emotionally distressing, especially if you had fallen in love with your new pet. However, the shelter itself can make the process even more difficult by treating you as though you are doing something wrong for returning a dog that has attacked you or a family member.
An unethical shelter or rescue group may ask you to sign a form that says the dog has never bitten anyone before or that you are returning the dog for reasons other than the attack. Never sign this form. Maintain that the dog did attack or bite you and do everything you can to ensure that the shelter is forced to record this information in their paperwork.
Consult an Attorney If You’re Bitten By a Dog You Think May Have Been Laundered
If you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group and are attacked, it is important to contact an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible. Although proving that the dog was indeed laundered may be difficult, it is important that the shelter be held accountable for the bite.
You’ll need help gathering the information necessary to show that the shelter or rescue group accepted a dog with a history of aggression, failed to document or covered up the report of that aggression, and re-homed the dog to you without disclosing the dog’s past. An attorney can assist you in putting together a case to not only ensure that the shelter is held responsible for the laundering, but to help you obtain financial compensation to cover expenses related to the attack like hospital bills and lost wages.
Call Mazow | McCullough, PC Today
Don’t wait after being bitten by a shelter dog to get legal help. We can assist you in gathering information that is important to your case and will aggressively advocate for your rights every step of the way. Call our experienced Massachusetts dog bite lawyers now for a consultation to discuss your legal needs at (855) 693-9084. We are available now to help you.