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What happens after a dog bite in Oregon?

What really happens when a dog bites, and who is affected? While the owner may be feeling upset that his or her pet could be in danger, if you've been bitten or your child has been injured by a dog, it's important that the owner is held liable for the actions of the animal. By law, owners are responsible for any injuries their pets cause, except in some very specific circumstances.

There are around 350 dog bites each year in Washington County, so they are not uncommon. In most cases, the bites are reported because they broke the skin; every time that happens, an investigation has to take place. Health care providers also have to report the bite to the state.

The dog in question should always be quarantined for 10 days by law. If it's current on vaccines including the rabies vaccine and is found to be safe with other people and pets, then it can likely be quarantined at home. However, if the dog is found to be dangerous, an animal control officer may quarantine it at a different location.

Sometimes, owners can be charged for owning a dangerous dog. For instance, if a pet was off-leash in an area that doesn't allow for that and attacks a person, then the owner can be charged for that. He or she may even face fines ranging from $50 to $500. That's for each offense, so if the dog bites two people, then the violations increase and the fees grow.

What can you expect if you file a claim? Nationally, the average claim for dog bites was $27,862 in 2013, which is enough to cover most medical expenses with minor-to-moderate bite wounds.

Source: The Oregonian, "Pet Talk: A look at what happens when a dog bites," Monique Balas, accessed May 24, 2016

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