Reporting a Dangerous Dog - Mazow | McCullough, PC
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Reporting a Dangerous Dog

dog showing teeth aggressively
Reporting a potentially dangerous dog can prevent injury for you and others.

Many of us are guilty of walking past a situation in which we feel we could or should have stepped in and done something to help. I know I have a couple situations that come to mind, where I felt like somebody else was going to say or do something so it wasn’t my responsibility to do anything. However, to this day I wonder, how did that situation resolve itself? Did everything turn out okay? Now picture yourself walking down the park and noticing a dog that is behaving aggressively and you decide that you will just keep walking and mind your business; somebody else will take care of it. Later on you hear that a person, or worse, a child was attacked by a dog. Would you feel guilty? Would you wonder if it was the same dog you saw and decided not to report? Nine times out ten the answer to both those questions is yes. Save yourself the worrying and remorse and take action in reporting a dangerous dog.

Keep Yourself Safe

If you come across an aggressive dog, especially a dog that seems to be a stray and unattended dog, the best thing to do in this scenario is to back away slowly. Do not try to approach the dog no matter how good you think you are at dealing with dogs or how much dogs like you. An aggressive dog will not like to be approached and will feel intimidated by you trying to invade their space, and could potentially lash out and attack. Do not be tempted to calm the dog down in any way.

It is important that you do not run from the dog as you are trying to get away. It is no secret that all dogs are chasers. They chase balls and they chase their tails; it’s just in their nature to chase things, and you become the perfect target when they see you running. Walk away slowly until you are a safe distance from the dog. If you see an unattended dog, do not try to judge if it is aggressive based solely on the breed. Aggressiveness is, more often than not, related to the training the dog has had or the lack thereof and is not solely based on the breed.

Making the Report

In order to report a dog exhibiting aggressive behavior, you will need to locate the correct phone number to call. If the dog has already attacked somebody and that person is severely injured call the emergency services 9-1-1.  If you want to report a dog with aggressive behavior that has not yet attacked anybody, call your local animal shelter. Some communities may have an animal control department. If there is an animal control department it may be best to contact them first, again only if the dog has not yet attacked anyone. They will be able to get to the scene quicker before the dog wanders away to another location.

If you are located in a rural area, since another option may not be available you may need to get in contact with the local sheriff. When you call to make the report, be prepared to describe the dog’s physical characteristics and location. It is a good idea to report the aggressive dog as soon as possible so that the authorities can locate it before it wanders too far from its initial area. After you have contacted the authorities and reported the situation, they will tell you what to do next. The authorities may even ask you to remain on the line and keep an eye on the dog, while still remaining a safe distance away. Remember, your safety is paramount.

Signs a Dog is Potentially Dangerous

Remember, a dog does not have to severely attack anybody in order for concern or reports to be made. A dog that is chasing or menacing a person or a domestic animal in an aggressive manner should be considered potentially dangerous. If a dog is repeatedly acting in an aggressive manner, and is either in a fenced in location or an enclosed space and it appears that it may be capable of jumping over or escaping, it is safe to consider this dog a potentially dangerous dog. When trying to prevent dog bites or attacks it is very important that action be taken before the situation escalates to a more severe one. If you are concerned about a dog in your neighborhood, do some research and contact the designated authorities and help prevent a dog bite attack from happening.

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