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Do You Have to Put Down a Dog After an Attack in Mississippi?

dog bite mississippi

After an attack, dangerous dogs shouldn’t be able to hurt another victim. However, Mississippi doesn’t have a state-wide statute about dangerous dogs, so deciding whether a dog should be put down depends on the individual situation and dog’s history of aggression.

In this blog, the Andy Citrin team outlines what happens to vicious dogs after an attack in Jackson County, and how Mississippi dog bite victims can protect themselves after an attack. Keep reading to learn more.

Understand the Basics of Mississippi’s Dog Bite Law

Compared to other states, Mississippi has unusual dog bite laws. First, there is no state-wide statute addressing dangerous or aggressive dogs. Mississippi relies on broad legal rules and court decisions in these claims. Second, we’re one of the few states where the “one bite” rule applies. This rule says that owners are not financially responsible for their dog’s aggressive or dangerous behaviors unless the dog has displayed dangerous tendencies in the past.

However, our state’s “one bite” rule does not mean that the dog must have actually attacked someone. Mississippi’s Supreme Court addressed the “one bite” rule in its Poy v. Grayson decision. In that case, a city worker tried to get compensation after a German shepherd bit him. According to the Court, a Mississippi dog bite victim must prove the following factors:

  • The dog had a history of dangerous or vicious behavior
  • The dog owner knew or should have known of the dog’s risk
  • The owner should have anticipated an attack and protected the public

In Poy, the worker’s claim failed because he did not prove these elements. However, if you can show that the dog had a history of growling, lunging, or other aggressive behavior, and the owner didn’t take precautions, you may still have a dog bite claim in Mississippi.

Many communities, including both Jackson County and the City of Pascagoula, have created their own rules. If a dog bite occurs in a community with a dangerous animal ordinance, you’ll need to follow its procedures.

What to Do if You Were Bit By a Dog in Pascagoula or Jackson County, Mississippi

A dog bite can happen to anyone, but children are particularly vulnerable. If a dog bit you or someone you love in Pascagoula or Jackson County, Mississippi, here’s what you need to do:

1. Call 911 and Get Medical Attention

You need to act quickly during a dog attack. Call 911 immediately and try to protect the victim (if possible). Next, seek medical care, even if it seems like a minor puncture wound. Dog bites are dangerous because of the damage a dog’s teeth can inflict on the skin and soft tissues, but also because of the risk of infection. Dogs’ mouths are home to over 600 types of bacteria, so it’s important to get the wound properly cleaned and treated after an attack.

2. Obtain the Owner’s Contact Information

Getting the owner’s contact information is critical after an attack. You’ll need this information if you file a claim with their insurance company to learn if the dog is a known dangerous animal and if you decide to file a lawsuit later.

3. Preserve the Evidence

What many dog bite victims don’t realize is that they can play an active part in protecting their case and its value by preserving the evidence. You can do this by saving all of your medical records, taking photos of wounds, not washing bloody or torn clothes, and writing down everything you can remember about the attack. Bring this evidence to your lawyer to help them fight for you.

4. Contact Animal Control

In Jackson County, Animal Control keeps records of dangerous animals, regulates their care, and makes decisions about whether they should be put down after an attack. After an attack, Animal Control will investigate and decide whether the dog should be officially considered dangerous or not. If they are not already on record as a dangerous dog, the owners must take steps to ensure the dog will not attack anyone again. This includes making sure the dog is securely enclosed and is kept on a short leash and muzzle when not in their pen. If the owners fail, they face fines, and they could potentially lose ownership of the dog — which could be put down.

The City of Pascagoula has its own dog bite ordinance, but it is similar to Jackson County’s laws in many ways. In Pascagoula, both Animal Control and the police can enforce its ordinances, and owners have a responsibility to care for their animals and protect the public from vicious dogs. If the City decides that a dog is vicious or dangerous, it will seize the dog and will not return it until the owner has taken precautions to protect the public. This typically includes warning signs, a child-proof, locked pen, and the use of a muzzle and leash when outside its pen. Under certain circumstances, the dog may be humanely euthanized.

5. Call an Experienced Mississippi Dog Bite Lawyer

If a dangerous dog has hurt you, you shouldn’t have to pay for your own medical bills. Having an experienced personal injury attorney can make a difference for many victims.

Dog bite ordinances vary across Mississippi, so if you have questions about your options after being attacked by a dangerous dog, contact a knowledgeable local dog bite lawyer right away.

RELATED: What to Do If You’ve Been Bit by a Dog in Mississippi

How a Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help Victims Recover After an Attack

Recovering from a traumatic event is never easy. You may lose your peace of mind around dogs or animals, have to live with significant scarring, and need a lot of time to recover before going back to work. When you work with an experienced personal injury attorney, they can help you deal with medical bills, communications with the insurance company, and organization of evidence. Your lawyer can guide you through each step of the legal process and help make sure you aren’t getting tricked into accepting a too-low settlement offer on your case.

We Fight for Dog Bite Victims in Pascagoula and Throughout Mississippi

At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we understand firsthand how difficult it can be to recover from a severe accident or attack. When you’ve been hurt by someone else’s reckless dog ownership in Mississippi, you need an attorney who is ready to fight on your behalf as you heal. Learn more about your options and what your case could be worth in a free consultation with a member of our team. Schedule yours today by filling out our online form or calling our Pascagoula office at 228-888-8888 today.

References

Article IV. Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Dogs, Jackson County Code of Ordinances. Retrieved from https://library.municode.com/ms/jackson/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_CH18AN_ARTIVDAPODADO

Burke, A. (2017, June 20). Is a Dog’s Mouth Cleaner Than a Human’s Mouth? American Kennel Club. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/is-dogs-mouth-cleaner-than-humans/

Poy v. Grayson. 273 So.2d 491 (Miss. 1973). Retrieved from https://casetext.com/case/poy-v-grayson

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.