Dog Bite Laws in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County is a fantastic area which encircles both large metropolitan and rural areas. You can explore both the wonders of the city and the wonderful landscapes of nature. Residents all aim to make the community a better place for all. Many Santa Clara residents own faithful dogs and even consider them a part of their families. Unfortunately, not all dogs are trained well enough, and can and will bite when they feel threatened or anxious making for some truly damaging implications. Based on several reports, 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the United States. Out of these 4.5 million dog bites, 1 out of 5 become infected. These infections can cause severe damage to your health and overall well be. If you or a loved one ever experience a dog bite, it is highly recommended that you are informed of what to do after receiving a bite and what laws protect you. This article will focus on laws that affect dog bite incidents in Santa Clara County.

Santa Clara Dog Bite Laws
The dog bite laws in Santa Clara County require that anyone who suspects they have been bitten to report the incident immediately to animal control. Santa Clara County Animal Control will typically only investigate very specific types of animal bites. For instance, in Santa Clara a bite investigation will almost always proceed an incident where a mammal has bitten a human; the only exceptions being if the animal was a member of the order Rodentia (rats, mice, and squirrels) or Lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and opossum). Bites from a rodent or lagomorphs will only be investigated if the animal was exhibiting abnormal behavior when the bite occurred, showing the animal was possibly rabid at the time of exposure. Animal to animal bites are only investigated by Santa Clara Animal Control if the biting animal is wild, or is a domestic animal that has been exposed to wild animals.

If a domestic animal bites a human, Santa Clara County Law states that the animal should be isolated in strict confinement in a place and manner approved by a Santa Clara County officials. The animal is then observed for signs of rabies infection over the course of the quarantine period. At the end of the inspection, the officer will inform the owner or caretaker of the animal the status of the animal, the person’s reasonability to comply, the symptoms of rabies infection, and the consequences for violations of a quarantine order. This quarantine period usually lasts for tending days from the date of the bite at the owner’s home, the animal shelter, or at a veterinary hospital at the owner’s expense. It is up to the Animal Control officer as to decide on where the quarantine of the biting animal shall take place.

If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, it is within your right to pursue legal action against the party responsible. Under Santa Clara and California State Law, the owner of the dog can be held liable for the damages inflicted. However, when pursuing legal action, it is in your best interest to seek out the assistance of a skilled attorney.

The Implications & What To Do
Dog bites occur at home more often than they do anywhere else, and it may be surprising to know that they are most frequently caused by dogs that you are familiar with. Those at the highest risk of dog bites are children typically aged between 5 and 9-years-old, and men. However, that is not to say that dog bites can’t occur outside the home. It is in your best interest to always be aware of the best course of action in preventing a possible dog bite. Listed below are some tips that could save you from having to experience one of these truly damaging injuries:

  • When approached by an unfamiliar dog remain motionless
  • If a dog knocks you down curl into a ball with your head tucked and your hands over your ears and neck
  • Don’t approach unfamiliar dogs
  • When small children play with dogs, make sure they are under supervision.
  • If a dog looks as though they are going to attack, don’t run from the dog
  • Don’t panic or make loud noises when approached by an unfamiliar dog
  • Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for its young.
  • Don’t pet a dog without allowing it to see you and sniff you first.
  • Don’t encourage your dog to play aggressively

Sometimes even these preventative measures may not keep you from being bitten by a dog. If you are ever bitten by a dog though, there are some steps that you can do to treat the wound and keep it from getting an infection. These suggested treatments are bulleted 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 wound 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 damaging, and if not treated properly could lead to life-threatening infections. Some common damages from dog bites are listed as follows:
  • 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 serious 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 bacteria called Clostridium tetani, and can cause rigid paralysis in people exposed to it through deep bite wounds.

As shown above, the damages that a dog bite victim can suffer from can be incredibly devastating. Thankfully, some laws protect you from experiencing the total severity of these injuries without some form of retribution. These laws tend to vary between counties, so it is highly recommended that you keep yourself informed about said laws that may influence your particular county in the event of a dog bite incident.

How Normandie Law Firm Can Help
Dog bites can be both incredibly physically damaging, and emotionally traumatizing. If you or a loved one has experienced a dog bite as a result of the negligence or misconduct of an owner, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit against them. At Normandie Law Firm our dog bites personal injury lawyers can assist you in the often arduous process of building your case, filing your claim, and collecting compensation for your damages. While our attorneys are based out of Los Angeles, we also practice in San Jose, Santa Clara, Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, San Diego, Orange County, Stockton, Bakersfield, and throughout the entire state of California.

FREE CONSULTATION: 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. Call now for a free consultation by one of our skilled attorneys, and we can guide you down the path of receiving proper compensation for your damages.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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