We don’t deserve dogs.

They love us so much and will put themselves in harm's way to protect us.  I have to say it: Most dogs are well-behaved.

Full length of kids playing with pet dog at park
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However, some can bite and injure you - unprovoked.

If a dog bite breaks the skin you have to get it checked. Some bites can seriously damage your skin, muscles, and tendons. 

Is Washington part of the “One Bite Rule?”

16 states in America have the “One Bite Rule.”
The “one-bite rule” states that a dog’s owner will only be liable if the owner knows the pet is aggressive.  It’s sometimes called the one-free-bite rule. Washington isn’t a state that offers this rule. 

The teeth of the black dog baring its fangs.

If a dog attacks you in Washington - is the owner liable?

Under Washington State law, dog owners are held liable when their dog attacks.

This law says that a dog owner is liable - if the attack occurred in a public place or the victim was lawfully in a private place. It doesn't matter if the dog had a history of viciousness or if the owner knew of its aggressive tendencies. 

What evidence of the dog attack should you provide in WA?

If you’re a victim of a dog bite - you should provide:

  •  Medical records of the bite. This will give essential details about your injuries to support compensation.
  • Proof of your employment and income - to recover lost wages.
  • Information about the dog owner. Dog owners are held liable when their dog attacks in a public place or if you, or your family, are lawfully in the dog owner's private property. 

Note: A dog owner may not be held liable if the person attacked was trespassing or provoked the dog.

Are Dogs That Bite in Washington Put Down?

Dogs in Washington are rarely put down for biting people or other domesticated animals. Local authorities from the city and county animal control will make the final decision on dangerous dogs. 

If an owner is informed that their dog is ‘dangerous’ - Washington law states that the dog: 

‘Must be kept in a secured enclosure and must be muzzled and on a leash when outside their secure enclosure.’ - Washington State Law


What next if you’re involved in a dog attack in Washington

Consult a local law firm and get legal advice.

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Gallery Credit: Linda Lombardi

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