What to Do With an Aggressive Dog in the Neighborhood
It’s no secret that dogs are one of the most popular kinds of pets in America. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 89.7 million dogs are owned in the United States. WIth so many dogs around, it’s no wonder that dog bites are an extremely common type of injury. Every year, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs and over 800,000 of them need to seek medical treatment as a result. Even if you don’t own a dog yourself, it’s very likely that your neighbor or someone else in your neighborhood does.
Responsible dog ownership goes a long way in preventing dog bites, but unfortunately, there are far too many pet owners out there who don’t care enough about the safety of their pet or the people around them. What should you do if there’s a dog in your neighborhood that shows signs of being aggressive?
Notify Your Neighbor
Sometimes, a dog owner might not realize their dog is causing a problem. For example, if you see a neighbor’s dog out roaming around the neighborhood and behaving in a way that makes you nervous, it is possible the dog might have gotten out without the owner’s knowledge. In a case like this, a reasonable and responsible dog owner would be very concerned and take steps to make sure their dog doesn’t get out again once they’re aware of the problem and look into what might have been causing the aggressive behavior.
If a reasonable amount of time has passed since you first notified your neighbor about the problem and you’re still seeing the dog around the neighborhood and it’s still acting aggressively, go ahead and follow up with the neighbor to let them know this is still a problem and keep a record of each time you talk to your neighbor about it.
When you see a loose dog behaving aggressively in the neighborhood, try to take a picture or video if it’s safe for you to do so. If this is a recurring problem, having pictures or video will help support your claims if you need to contact your local animal control department. Having this kind of evidence will also be helpful if you’re able to talk to the dog’s owner.
Contact Animal Control
If you’ve notified your neighbor about their dog’s behavior and they’ve done nothing to solve the problem or you’re not sure who the dog’s owner is, contact your local animal control department. Try to give them as much information as possible, including specific dates and locations where you’ve seen the dog and details about specific behavior you’ve witnessed. Show them any pictures and video you might have. If you know other people in the neighborhood who are also concerned about the dog, encourage them to contact animal control too.
If the person you speak to at Animal Control doesn’t seem terribly concerned about the situation, try to follow up with a supervisor. Take notes about any conversations you have with Animal Control employees, including the names of the people you talk to, the dates/times you spoke to them, and what exactly was discussed.
If Injured, Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer
Hopefully, taking the above steps will be able to prevent any injuries like dog bites from ever happening. But if you’re bitten by a neighbor’s aggressive dog, the first thing you should do after getting medical attention is contact a dog bite lawyer. If you’ve already notified the owner and Animal Control department about the fact that this dog had been causing trouble and nothing was done to stop it, having records of your efforts, as well as photographic evidence, will be extremely helpful for your case.
At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer highly experienced in handling Michigan dog bite cases who can help answer your question and work with you to figure out your legal options. Contact us today to get started.