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January 12, 2024

4 Steps to Report a Dog Bite in Los Angeles County

Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz, JD, MBA

The short answer: The best way to report a dog bite in Los Angeles County is through the local Animal Care and Control department. If you or someone else has been bitten by a dog in Los Angeles County, you should report the incident as soon as possible.

Here are steps you can follow:

  1. Identify the Animal and its Location: Within Los Angeles County, it is mandatory to immediately report all animal bites inflicted on humans (except for those from rodents and rabbits). If possible, the location of the animal should be included in the report.
  2. Contact the Appropriate Authority: If you need to report a bite anywhere in Los Angeles County, excluding the cities of Long Beach, Pasadena, and Vernon, please reach out to the Los Angeles County Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control. For assistance in the excluded cities, please proceed as follows:
  • If you are in Pasadena, reach out to the Pasadena Humane Society at 626-792-7151.
  • If you are in Long Beach, reach out to the Long Beach Animal Control at 562-570-7387.
  • If you are in Vernon, reach out to The City of Vernon at 323-583-8811 and ask to speak with their Health Department.
  1. Report the Bite: You can report the bite by fax, online, or by calling one of the animal control locations. Download the appropriate form and fax it to the number on the form. If you do not have access to a fax or cannot print the online forms, you will need to call one of the animal control locations and send an officer to your location.
  2. Follow Up: After reporting the bite, follow up with the appropriate authorities to ensure that the animal that bit is properly quarantined.

Dog bites are unfortunately a common occurrence. In Los Angeles County alone, about 20,000 people are bitten by dogs each year. This is a significant number compared to the approximately 4.5 million dog bites that occur nationally. Most victims of these incidents are children.

City-Specific Reporting Details

City Authority Contact Information
Los Angeles LA County Veterinary Public Health and Rabies Control Online Form

Fax, or

Call (213) 288-7060

Pasadena Pasadena Humane Society (626) 792-7151
Long Beach Long Beach Animal Control (562) 570-7387
Vernon The City of Vernon (323) 583-8811 (Ask for Health Department)

Keep in mind, any individual aware of the bite incident is eligible to report it. Such reporting enables the local health department to probe if the animal that bit might have passed on rabies to the person bitten. This is not merely a legal obligation, but a vital measure in maintaining public health and safety.

who do you report a dog bite to

What to Do If You Need Emergency Medical Attention

If you have been bitten by a dog and need emergency medical attention, follow these steps:

  • Seek Immediate Medical Care: If the wound is deep, on your hand or face, or you cannot control the bleeding, seek immediate medical care. You should always see a primary care provider if you have been bitten.
  • Clean the Wound: Run warm water over the wound for five to ten minutes and wash it with mild soap.
  • Slow the Bleeding: Use a clean cloth to apply pressure and slow the bleeding.
  • Apply Antibiotic Cream: If available, apply over-the-counter antibiotic cream to the wound.
  • Bandage the Wound: Cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
  • Monitor for Signs of Infection: Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increase in pain, and fever.

Documentation Tips

After a dog bite, you should do your best to document the incident properly. Here are some tips:

  • Photograph the Injury: Take a picture of the injury shortly after the dog bite incident if possible.
  • Record the Effects: Document the effects of the injuries. This includes any visible injuries and disfigurement. It is also helpful to keep a journal and document the effects of those injuries.
  • Gather Information About the Dog: Find out information such as who owns the dog, whether it’s your dog, a dog of someone you know, or a stray dog.
  • Document the Incident: Record details like the day and time of the injury, the location of the bite(s), the force of the bite, your medical history, and your last tetanus shot.

Proper documentation can be incredibly important if you need to take legal action later.

Importance of Medical Attention No Matter How Severe the Injury Is

Seeking medical attention after a dog bite is critical, regardless of the severity of the injury. Even minor bites can lead to serious health complications if not properly treated- here’s why:

  1. Prevention of Infection: Bites from dogs can transmit bacteria into the human body, potentially causing infections like cellulitis or, in more serious instances, sepsis. Prompt medical care can assist in cleaning and sterilizing the wound, thereby minimizing the likelihood of an infection.
  2. Tetanus and Rabies: Dogs, especially those not up to date on their vaccinations, can transmit diseases like tetanus and rabies. Both conditions are serious and can be life-threatening, but post-exposure prophylaxis can prevent them if administered promptly.
  3. Assessment of Damage: A healthcare professional can assess the extent of the damage caused by the bite. Some injuries may damage nerves, blood vessels, or bones, which might not be immediately apparent.
  4. Appropriate Treatment: Depending on the severity and location of the bite, different treatments may be necessary. These can range from simple wound dressing to sutures, or even surgery in severe cases.
  5. Documentation: Seeking medical attention ensures that the injury is officially documented. This can be crucial for legal or insurance purposes, and for reporting the incident to local authorities.

No matter how minor a dog bite may seem, always seek medical attention to ensure proper care and treatment.

How an Attorney Can Help

Engaging with an attorney can be beneficial in many situations due to the following:

  • Legal Advice: Personal injury attorneys are knowledgeable of dog bite laws in California and can provide legal advice tailored to your specific situation. They can help you understand your rights and help you file a lawsuit if needed.
  • Representation in Court: If you’re looking to sue for a dog bite, an attorney can represent you if your case goes to court. They can present your case, cross-examine witnesses, and argue on your behalf.
  • Negotiation: Attorneys can negotiate on your behalf in situations like settlements or contract disputes. They can help you achieve a favorable settlement.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that you have an attorney to rely on can provide peace of mind. You can be confident that your legal matters are being handled professionally.

The expertise of an attorney can be a crucial asset in a dog bite case, particularly if you or a loved one were left with serious damages following a dog bite incident. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in Los Angeles County, do not hesitate to seek legal help.

At LawLinq, we are committed to connecting you with the right dog bite attorney for your needs, at no cost. We have a network of attorneys who bring a wealth of experience in handling dog bite cases and are ready to provide the assistance you need. If you have any questions or need further guidance, do not hesitate to reach out to our team at LawLinq today– we are here to help.

About the Author

Jessica Anvar

California Consumer Litigation Attorney Jessica Anvar, Esq. is the Founder and Managing Partner of Lemon Law Experts California’s leading lemon law firm. She has multiple years’ worth of experience working with both state and federal lemon laws. Her practice focuses exclusively on consumer protection cases. Ms. Anvar received her J.D. from Loyola Law School. She also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Loyola Marymount University. Jessica is very active in her local legal community and has helped thousands of clients across the state of California. She has an outstanding record as a true advocate for consumers.

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