Dog bites are significant medical issues for the person bitten and public health issues for the community at large. There is no cure for rabies once the symptoms appear. You should always get immediate medical attention after a dog bite so a health care professional can assess whether you need to undergo a series of rabies shots. As soon as you address the medical issues, you might need to report the dog bite to the authorities.
When You Need to Report the Dog Bite to Animal Control
The Public Health Department for Seattle & King County mandates that the owner should confine and observe the animal for 10 days after the bite. If confinement and observation are not possible, such as in the case of a stray or wild dog, you should report the bite to the local animal control agency where the dog lives. If you do not know where the animal lives, report to the agency for the location where the bite happened.
How to Contact Your Local Animal Control Agency in King County
Multiple animal control agencies serve residents of King County. You should call the agency for the appropriate location as follows:
- Seattle Animal Shelter: 206-386-7387
- Cities of Algona, Pacific, and Milton: 253-841-5595
- City of Burien: 206-241-4647
- City of Des Moines: 206-870-6549
- City of Federal Way: 253-835-7387
- City of Medina: 425-233-6420 or 425-233-6400
- City of Normandy Park: 206-248-7603
- City of Renton: 425-430-6850
- City of Skykomish: 360-677-2388
- Other cities and unincorporated areas should call this number for Regional Animal Services of King County: 206-296-7387
Confining an Animal After a Dog Bite in King County
If the dog that bit you gets sick or dies within the 10 days, you need to call the Department of Public Health at 206-296-4774 to see if it is necessary to have the remains tested for rabies.
During the confinement, you need to observe the dog every day. For the entire 10 days, DO NOT:
- Let the dog escape.
- Allow the dog to be in the yard by itself or run loose.
- Take it off of the property even in your vehicle, for a walk, or to a dog park.
- Let any people, pets, or wild animals have any contact with the animal.
- Vaccinate the dog for rabies within the 10-day confinement – but if its rabies shots are not current, DO get it vaccinated after the 10th day.
- Sell, give away, destroy, or dispose of the animal.
Risk Factors and Dog Bites
There is a low risk of rabies throughout the state of Washington, but it can happen. Your highest risk factors of contracting rabies from a dog bite or scratch are if the injury occurred:
- When you were outside of the United States
- From an animal brought into the U.S. from another country during the last six months
- From an animal that has been in contact with bats or other wild animals
- From a hybrid dog, in other words, a dog that is a mixture of domestic and wild
- From a dog that was sick and not behaving the way it usually does
- From a wild animal, even if someone has made a pet of the dog
Mandated Reporting of Dog Bites
Washington State law requires that all healthcare providers immediately report animal bites to public health authorities (the local health department) when there is a suspicion that the bite has exposed a human to rabies.
Public Nuisances and Vicious Dogs
You can report a dog bite to your local animal control for them to be on notice that the animal might be a public nuisance or a vicious animal. Each designation carries different consequences.
If a dog attacks, bites or tries to bite one or more persons two or more times within a two-year period, it is a public nuisance. The authorities can impound and dispose of the animal.
A dog that endangers the safety of people, other animals, or property because of its tendency to attack or bite people or domesticated animals without provocation is a vicious animal. The authorities can investigate and require necessary measures to protect the public or can impound the animal. The county can charge the owner with a criminal misdemeanor.
How to Get Legal Help for a Dog Bite in King County
If you or someone close to you has experienced a dog bite, call Max Meyers Law for help with your legal case. There is no charge for the consultation. Call 425-399-7000 for your free case evaluation.