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What happens after a dog bite is reported?

Dog bite incidents should be reported as soon as possible. These reports may be made to the Los Angeles County’s Department of Animal Care and Control, or to the county Department of Public Health. If a bite requires the victim to receive treatment at a hospital, the DACC advises that the victim make a bite complaint immediately.

Under state and county laws, when a person is bitten or scratched with a dog’s teeth, that animal must be quarantined. As such, upon receiving a dog bite report, the DACC will quarantine the dog for 10 days. During this time, the dog must be isolated and confined. Sometimes a dog’s quarantine may be carried out in its home. Depending on the situation, however, the animal might be required to stay at a private boarding facility or an animal control agency. During quarantine, the dog will be observed by a health officer. This is to ensure that rabies is not an issue.

Dog bites are handled within the DACC by its Critical Case Processing Unit. An investigating officer from CCP will review bite reports and present a petition for each case. These petitions are reviewed by administrative hearing officers, who will make determinations regarding the ownership of the animals. Depending on the circumstances, a hearing officer may categorize a dog as Vicious or Potentially Dangerous. Either classification may result in restrictions on the ownership and keeping of the animal.

According to the DACC, a history of biting is just one indicator of dangerous dogs. The agency notes that aggressive dogs will exhibit numerous warning signs. Those who observe such behavior in their neighborhood’s dogs may want to contact the DACC’s Safe Neighborhoods Program. This program aims to address animal aggression before it escalates. 

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