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According to statistics, around 12,480 people per year are hospitalized due to a dog bite injury. Animal-on-animal violence, though, is not reported in the same way and may even be missed by the owners. What happens when a dog bites another dog?

If your pet was recently involved in a violent dog attack, you likely have many questions. Learn more about Arizona law and how it applies to this situation, and contact Sargon Law Group to discuss the specifics of your case.

How Does Arizona Law Apply When a Dog Bites Another Dog?

If your dog was the victim of a canine attack, you may experience many complex feelings — especially if your dog was seriously injured in the incident. If you are the owner of the dog that bit another dog, you may feel unsure of your responsibility to the other owner and to the dog that was hurt.

Each state has different laws regarding this situation. Here is what you should know and discuss with your specialized Phoenix dog bite attorney about Arizona laws.

Owner Responsibility

In Arizona, when a dog bites a person, the owner of the attacking dog is responsible for the incident. It’s similar when the situation involves a dog biting another dog. As long as the bite happened on public property (or on private property without trespassing), the owner is responsible. Even if another person, such as a dog-walker, was with the dog during the attack, the legal responsibility would still fall to the owner of the dog.

Breed Considerations

Some states have laws that account for the breeds of the dogs involved in the dogfight. However, Arizona state law does not take the breed of the attacking dog into consideration. This means any judge or decision-maker does not have the right to use the dog’s breed and related information to make decisions about the situation.

Fabian’s Law

Arizona’s House Bill 2137, or “Fabian’s Law” (named after a small poodle that was attacked and killed by a larger dog), was signed into law in 2011. It establishes:

  • A dog owner whose dog attacks another dog is legally responsible for the situation.
  • Depending on the severity of the situation and the injuries of the other dog involved, the owner of the attacking dog may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. This can include fines of up to $2,500.

What Should Your First Steps Be After a Dog Bites Another Dog?

After a dog bite incident, you will want to take certain steps to handle the situation safely.

1. Separate the Dogs

Make sure the attacking dog is put on a leash or in a kennel so that it is unable to harm anyone else. Even if the dog is not typically aggressive, it is likely agitated and needs a space to calm down. Do not hit, kick, or strike the attacking dog in any way, as this can provoke further aggression.

2. Help the Injured Dog

The injured dog may need veterinary care. Exchange information with the other dog’s owner and seek care for the injured dog, if necessary, before anything else happens.

3. Call an Attorney

Whether you’re the owner of the attacker or the victim, you need legal help in this type of case. It’s important to work with a lawyer who has a history of handling dog bite cases, including ones where a dog bites another dog as well as ones with human victims.

4. Determine Your Next Steps

Depending on whether your dog was the aggressor or victim, you will need to take several steps to follow up with the situation in the next days and weeks. The attacking dog may be quarantined to determine its health and propensity for aggression and viciousness. According to Arizona law, a vicious dog may be euthanized or kept in an enclosed area with “dangerous dog” signage.

The owner of the attacked dog should carefully monitor their pet’s behavior for shock, anxiety, and mood changes, as these are common after dog bites. You should have ruled out or diagnosed internal injuries and broken bones at this point. If there are any lingering concerns or any new symptoms, these should be immediately addressed with your dog’s vet.

Frequently Asked Questions After a Dog Acts Out

Every case that involves a dog bite is unique. Take a look at these FAQs and reach out to Sargon Law Group with your own questions.

If My Dog Bites Another Dog, Will My Dog Will Be Put Down?

Not necessarily. It depends on the nature of the fight as well as the dog’s overall level of viciousness. If your dog has a history of proven aggression or has already been determined to be a vicious dog, this must be taken into consideration.

What if the Other Dog Started the Fight?

It’s sometimes impossible to prove which animal started a dog fight. Legally, determining which dog is the attacker is generally more important.

However, establishing liability can become muddy here as well. If your dog scares another dog at a public park and the other dog attacks yours, this is quite a different situation than if the dog charged your dog in your own yard and caused your dog’s death.

What if I (or Someone Else) Was Injured While Trying To Stop the Fight?

Similarly, the owner of the attacking dog is responsible for these injuries. Many people in this situation choose to consult a personal injury lawyer who has experience in dog bite cases to file a lawsuit against the other owner.

What Exactly is the Owner of the Biting Dog Responsible For?

It depends on the situation as well as the extent of the damages. The owner of the biting dog may be responsible for the other dog’s veterinary care, the owner’s pain and suffering, and more.

Contact Sargon Law Group for Help When Your Dog Bites Another Dog

Dog bites — whether they happened to a human or another animal — are not something you should take lightly. When a dog bites another dog, it’s important to have legal counsel local to Maricopa County, Arizona, that you can trust. The Phoenix personal injury lawyers at Sargon Law Group have experience working with and getting justice for many types of personal injury cases. Contact us for immediate, thorough help.