Does Raleigh, North Carolina’s Dog Bite Rules “Go Easy on the Dogs?”

March 10, 2008, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Raleigh, North Carolina last year, police responded to 367 reports of animal attacks—a 56% increase since 2000. According to the News &, someone is bitten by a dog every day in Raleigh.

The newspaper goes on to report that many dog bite victims in the city are not happy with the way dog bite cases are handled, saying that the burden of proof and the costs of the injuries frequently lie with the dog bite victims.

State law requires that all dogs must undergo a 10-day quarantine and rabies check.

One Raleigh dog bite victim, Malinda Delbridge, was bitten by a pit bull late last year trying to pull its jaws off her poodle. The pit bull’s owner paid a $50 fine for not having proof of a rabies vaccine and $150 to release the dog from quarantine. Delbridge was billed $300 for medical expenses.

In North Carolina, a dog is considered dangerous if it has terrorized someone, broken a victim’s bones, or caused a disfiguring injury. This means that most of the time, a dog has to bite someone first before it can be considered “dangerous.” According to one animal control supervisor, a dog in Raleigh gets classified as “dangerous” no more than three times annually because the bite wounds are not considered serious enough.

A Raleigh appeals board meeting last September to hear dangerous dog cases was the first time the group had met in five years.

Other North Carolina cities and counties are reportedly tougher when it comes to classifying dogs as dangerous. In Cumberland County last year, animal control declared 29 dogs dangerous after they bit humans and 15 dogs that exhibited violence against other dogs were classified as aggressive. The city of Charlotte classified 10 dogs as dangerous.

In North Carolina, if a doctor does not call an injury a dog bite, it cannot be reported as one—which may lead to many dog bite injuries going unreported.

To prove owner negligence in a North Carolina injury dog bite case, the victim must prove that the dog was unattended, not on its owner’s property at night, or had already been classified as “dangerous.”

If you or someone you love has sustained a serious dog bite injury in North Carolina or South Carolina, one of our dog bite lawyers would be happy to discuss your legal options with you.

A Few Dog Bite Facts:

• Nationally, 334,000 victims a year are treated in emergency rooms for dog bites.
• Dog bites are among the leading injuries that require medical attention.
• More than half of dog bite victims are children.

Dog-bite law tough on victims,, January 20, 2008

Dog Bite Statistics, The Pet Friendly House

Related Web Resources:

North Carolina Dog Bite Law

South Carolina Dog Bite Law


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