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Dog Bite Laws in Ventura County

Dogs are referred to many as our closest companions, and they often provide the household with decreased stress, increased happiness and exercise levels. However, these dogs are still animals and as such will attack when they feel threatened or anxious. Dog bites can be incredibly damaging to those who are unfortunate enough to suffer from them. The wound, if left untreated can even cause life-threatening bacterial infections. Based on some reports roughly 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the United States. Out of these 4.5 million dog bite incidents, 1 out of 5 bites become severely infected. Thankfully in Sonoma County, some laws protect both residents and visitors from the trauma and damages caused by dog bites. This article will focus on not only the damages and implications of dog bites but the city and county ordinances that protect dog bite victims in Sonoma County.

Sonoma County
Known for its spectacular wineries, and natural wonders, Sonoma County people from around come to Sonoma County hoping for a Californian get away. It’s easy to see why considering the raw beauty that Sonoma County offers, such as the famous Point Reyes National Seashore,  Bodega Bay, and the Armstrong Redwoods State Park. Sonoma County is located in northern California, west of Napa County and Lake County. Founded in 1850, the seaside county is now home to approximately 483,878 people. The largest city in Sonoma County in Santa Rosa, but it also includes parts of San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland. Those who visit Sonoma County hardly expect to be bitten by a dog when they visit, however, these things happen and when they do there are some laws in the county that protect victims from further trauma and help protect residents and visitors from experiencing injury.

Sonoma County Dog Bite Ordinances
Sonoma County dog bite laws designate that all dogs are vaccinated and have a qualifying license. This is to ensure that a lost dog can be returned to the owner, but also to make sure that all dogs in the county are properly vaccinated. If the license is lost or expired, the owner is required to apply for a replacement. Dogs are also prohibited from being at large. Essentially this means that a dog must be leashed at all times they are outside of the owner’s home. It is also required that the person handling the dog is fully capable of doing so. If a dog bites someone, the victim or the dog owners are required to report the incident immediately. Once this dog bite incident is reported, the dog is required to be on a ten-day quarantine as to monitor the dog’s health and whether or not they show signs of rabies. This quarantine can take place at the dog owner’s home or an Animal Services Center. If the dog bites people more than once, they could be labeled as a potentially dangerous or vicious animal. Depending on the outcome and severity of the dog bite the dog could face impoundment, the owner could be restricted from further ownership of animals, or the dog in question could be sterilized or monitored via microchip. Regardless of the circumstances of a dog bite incident, California State law designates that any in the event of a dog bite the dog owner should be deemed responsible for the damages. This is because, the damages from dog bites can be incredibly severe, and even life-threatening.

Preventative Measures & The Damages
Studies have shown that a vast majority of dog bite incidents occur in the home and that they are inflicted by dogs we are most familiar with. Those most susceptible to dog bites are children between ages 5 and 9 and men. However, these animal attacks can occur to anyone at any time. For this reason, it is incredibly important to understand what to do if you feel as though a dog may bite you. Bulleted below are some preventative measures that you can follow to prevent a dog bite from occurring:

  • Don’t encourage your dog to play aggressively
  • Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for its young
  • Don’t pet a dog without allowing it to smell you first
  • If a dog looks as though they may attack, don’t run from the dog
  • Don’t panic or make loud noises when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • Don’t approach strange dogs
  • When small children play with dogs, make sure that they are under supervision.

Following these preventative measures will not always keep a dog from biting you. Some dogs will still bite even when unprovoked. If this is the case, it is important to understand what you can do to treat the wound. The treatment of a dog bite varies based on the severity of the injury. These treatments are listed below:

  • Minor Wounds: With minor dog bite wounds it is recommended that you wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, apply an antibiotic cream, then cover the wound with a clean bandage. You should see a healthcare provider if the injury becomes: red, painful, warm, or swollen; if you develop a fever; or if the dog that bit you was acting strangely.
  • Deep Wounds: If you have suffered a deep wound it is recommended that you apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding. If the bleeding does not stop or slow, or you feel faint or weak, call 911 or any other local emergency medical service immediately. With deep wounds, it is highly recommended that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Dog bite wounds can be incredibly devastating, especially when left untreated. If a victim doesn’t receive proper medical treatment for their wound, they could end up suffering from life-threatening bacterial infections. Some common infections contracted by dog bites are bulleted below:

  • Rabies: Rabies is the most dangerous diseases that people can contract through dog bites. While cases of rabies are rare, the rabies disease is incredibly lethal. Rabies is a virus that affects the brain and once symptoms show is almost always fatal. One of the most common ways to contract rabies is through the bite and saliva of an infected animal. Victims who have been exposed to an animal that could have rabies should immediately seek out medical treatment.
  • Capnocytophaga: This is a bacteria that lives in the mouths of humans, dogs, and cats. These bacteria don’t make dogs or cats sick, so it is not always easy to identify if your pet has it. The spread of Capnocytophaga to humans is rare, but they are typically spread through bites, scratches or close contact with a dog or cat. Most people who come into contact with dogs or cats do not become sick. However, people with a weakened immune system are at a greater risk of becoming sick.
  • Pasteurella: this is a type of bacteria seen in over 50% of infected dog bite wounds. The bacteria commonly cause a painful, red infection around the bite area, but it can cause more severe conditions in those with a weakened immune system.
  • MRSA: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA is a type of staph infection that is resistant to some antibiotics. Dogs and other animals can carry MRSA without showing symptoms. However, the bacteria can cause skin, lung, and urinary tract infections in people. In some, MRSA can spread to the bloodstream or lungs and cause life-threatening infections.
  • Tetanus: Tetanus is a toxin produced by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani, and can cause rigid paralysis in people exposed to it through deep bite wounds.

This is just a handful of the infections that can be caused by dog bites, and if you ever suffer a severe dog bite, it is highly recommended you seek professional medical assistance immediately. Thankfully, the dog bite laws in Sonoma County protect both visitors and residents from suffering the extensive damage that a dog bite can cause. In the state of California if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog you have every right to sue the owner for the damages as they are deemed liable for the ensuing damages caused by their dog. However, when attempting to take legal action, it is in your best interest that you seek representation from a lawyer experienced with dog bite lawsuits.

How Normandie Law Firm Can Help
Having a skilled attorney on your side can mean the difference between filing a successful claim for compensation and having your case dismissed from court entirely. Clients who file a claim with Normandie Law Firm may find some if not all of the following damages compensable to them:

  • Past and Future Medical Expenses
  • Loss of Income
  • Loss of potential future income
  • Emotional Damages (anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc…)
  • Punitive Damages

Victims of a dog bites contact our Los Angeles law offices to learn more about how to receive compensation for their injuries. At Normandie Law Firm, our dog bite attorneys can assist you in understanding dog bite ordinances in Sonoma County and fighting and win your dog bite lawsuit. While we are based in Los Angeles, we also practice in San Diego, Orange County, Riverside, Bakersfield, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento and throughout the state of California.

Free Second Opinions
Some attorneys are lazy, and will sign you up to their firm but will disappear once your name is on the paper as they are busy signing up more cases. In these instances, their business is based more on volume and will attempt to sign up as many cases as possible. In turn, they will spend less time on cases resulting in severely reduced settlements. Our firm will not treat you like a number. We will be in communication with you throughout our lawsuit and will treat you like family. So if you already have an attorney don’t worry, we’ll give you a second review of your case 100% free of charge.

Zero Fee Guarantee-No Upfront Fees Ever
If you contact our law offices today, we can walk you through the complicated process of filing your claim completely free of charge. As a show this commitment to you and your case we offer our clients the benefits of a zero fee guarantee policy. Under our zero fee policy, all clients don’t pay for our services until their case is won. If you feel in need of a second opinion, second opinion case reviews are also free under this policy. Please, feel free to give us a call, and we can guide you down the path of receiving proper compensation for your damages.

 

 

 

 

 

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