If you’re walking down the street and a strange dog approaches you, you probably know not to reach out to it or to bother it. If it appears friendly, you might try to check for its collar and tags, but that’s a time when you need to be wary.
Sometimes, dogs that appear to be friendly aren’t really at all. They may wag their tails due to anxiety or excitement rather that friendliness, resulting in you misunderstanding and ending up getting bitten.
When a stray dog bites: Your rights
If you are bitten by a stray dog, you should know that you have a right to seek compensation from that dog’s owner. At the scene, you or someone else should attempt to restrain or contain the animal, so officers or animal control can take it to a local veterinarian or animal control office to scan it for a microchip. If it has tags, the officer will call the owner to discuss the situation and tell them that the dog has been located.
You should always contact the St. Paul Police as soon as you can after being bitten by a dog. You can either call 911 or reach out to 651-291-1111 to file a report that you can later use against the owner of the animal.
Who will cover the cost of my medical care after a dog bite?
The owner of a dog is liable for any injuries it causes. This is especially true if the animal was allowed to run free, because state and local ordinances do ask that all dogs are leashed or appropriately contained to avoid dog bites.
The police will interview you, the owner and witnesses to determine the cause of the bite and how to move forward with the case. If necessary, the animal will go to Animal Control where it will go through a quarantine. If there are vaccination records available, quarantine may not be required.
The owner of the dog should be held liable for any and all expenses you have related to the dog bite including your medical care, lost wages and other financial losses.