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Old 09-27-2016, 01:48 PM
Location: Northeastern U.S.
1,465 posts, read 886,874 times
Reputation: 2914


I have had, in the last 25 years, two dogs that very occasionally nipped a person - in each case, it was a bite that barely broke the skin and required no stitches. And in each case, I offered proof of my dog's rabies vaccinations. (thankfully my current dog has never nipped anyone; and has a gentle temperament)

I have also been nipped by more than one dog; and at those times; I definitely did not take the owner's word that the dogs' rabies certificates were up to date, but insisted on a copy of the rabies certificate and called the veterinarian for verification (in one case, the owners stalled; and I threatened to call the authorities; which I didn't like to do; since the dog was about 8 lbs. soaking wet and not an extreme danger to society, but my safety was at stake, and happily, the owners came through with the information). One exception - some relatives' dog nipped me when I was visiting over Christmas and I did take their word that she had been vaccinated. I routinely get a tetanus shot every 10 years; so I'm protected from dog bites/nips at least from tetanus.

I would be very nervous about staying in a housing situation where I would regularly encounter a good-sized dog who had bitten me. I wouldn't like to report a dog for bad behavior either; unless I were convinced that the dog was a serious menace to society; and I don't know enough about this particular dog (and its prior actions) to say yes or no on that. The original poster does seem to have some health issues resulting from the bite; and that trumps any consideration for the dog or the owners' hurt feelings. If I were in the original poster's shoes, I'd insist on a copy of the dog's rabies shots; and get a tetanus shot as soon as possible.
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Old 09-27-2016, 02:31 PM
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So I got the rabies certificate--is it common for vets to get calls from strangers about whether a dog had a shot and be able to release that information, or will they ask "were you bitten"? Turns out my county does have a mandatory dog bite reporting statute (for regular hospitals at least, though possibly only if the skin is broken or if you have to get a rabies shot).
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Old 09-27-2016, 03:45 PM
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 20,707,191 times
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if you don't want to get the landlord/dog in trouble you could always say you were nipped by a stray...no need ot say names in a case like that...
sinc eyou think it may be sprained, better to get checked out.

in terms of the situation...
YES there is risk of being bitten again and obviously the lanrlord doesn't have enough physical control of the dog to prevent issues should you surprise the dog again.
(this is not the dogs fault, simply an overreaction)
mabe try discussing with the landlord about him fencing off a part of the yard so that YOU can acess your door, without having to go through the yard were the dog may be busy...mabe create a fenced off path to your entrance so no one has to worry...
if not ask the landlord if hed be willing to muzzle the dog when it is outside (should realy be done anyway if the dog is a bite risk) this way if the dog does get out of his owners hand, the real worse he can do is knock you down.

it sounds like both you and the landlord are willing to work together to find a solution, so that's a good spot to be in, talk to him, explain you don't feel comfortable around the dog especially given its size and the fact that he did slip his owners grip...and while youd love to stay thered need to be some safety accomodations made.
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Old 09-30-2016, 02:27 PM
13,675 posts, read 13,489,213 times
Reputation: 39787
Originally Posted by springlime View Post
Thanks Oldhag1, that's really useful info--I wanted to get it checked out at the hospital, but if my area has mandatory dog bite reporting does this mean I'll get in trouble if I refuse to give detailed information about the dog? The owners overall have been nice people and I don't want them to lose a beloved pet. At the same time, I don't want to put my own health at risk by not seeing a doctor just to protect an animal that attacked me. I was hoping I could just go, and tell the hospital a dog bit me but not reveal which dog it was.
You could go in and say that you were bitten by a strange dog in the woods or something. They won't investigate much beyond that since you weren't severely hurt.

How much do you want to stay at this place? I'm going to say that a dog biting like that is NOT normal. I've had dogs that have bitten people in defense of their property. When their owner at the time was there, they would not do it. That this dog bit you despite its owner being right there is alarming to me.

My current dog regularly makes people crap their pants. He's terrifying and responds with vicious barking to any intrusion upon his property or what he sees as our joint safety. But he has never bitten a person, despite his "haka" dance, and he calms down as soon as I ask him to. I'm not even sure he would bite if I wasn't around. The only people who have tested his limits in that way are people who know him, and the last few times I've introduced him to people he was warning off just moments before, he literally crawled into their laps after I pronounced them "ok". But I don't take chances with him.

You definitely should get yourself checked out if you think it necessary, and if you decide to stay on the property, you should definitely make certain to make friends with the dog - like groom it, take it for a walk, etc. The fact that it sounds like you weren't warned about this dog is also troubling.

I wouldn't blame you one bit for just pulling out of the lease and leaving.
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Old 10-01-2016, 08:08 AM
16,025 posts, read 19,571,183 times
Reputation: 26194
Originally Posted by springlime View Post
To answer questions in the thread-- yes I'm renting a room from the landlord, and my entrance is through the backyard. The dog isn't usually there except to go to the bathroom. The landlord has been really sorry and accommodating, and offered to help with moving expenses etc if i need to leave, so I'm not concerned about the renting laws/issues part. Though, the owner kind of asked if I could avoid going to the hospital since the dog might get in trouble if i did or something?

I like the place I'm living and it's hard to find decent affordable apartments in this city, so I don't really want to have to move again, but the main concern is whether my safety is at risk enough that it moving is necessary.
I think you should follow the advice of those that have said report the bite and get it medically checked. And make the LL pay for all treatment.

I cannot think of a good reason for you to risk staying, only concerns if you do try to stay.

Here are my thoughts, about your deciding to stay.

If you have to enter and leave your rented area in the same area that this dog just attacked you then I do not think you are safe.

Think about it. This dog attacked you, it was not restrained from doing so while owner is verbally commanding it to stop, and while holding a leash.

It is likely that they are not going to be in control of this dog in the future, and imo it is too risky to assume the dog will eventually quit trying to attack you. It's more likely imo to try to attack again, because it has lost it's inhibition to do so. And you will now be displaying fear, which makes an already aggressive dog more aggressive.

I'll bet having to make sure that the dog cannot get to you each and every time you want to walk into or out of your door would be a logistical nightmare. And, now that you know the owner cannot control his dog, very, very risky imo

Also, the fact that the LL is trying to get you not to report the dog says to me, this is not the first time this dog has gone after an innocent person, visitor or neighbor.

Last edited by JanND; 10-01-2016 at 08:22 AM..
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:54 AM
11,210 posts, read 8,350,431 times
Reputation: 20256
I hate this whole scenario. I love dogs, have had them all my life, have two now. The 10 pounder is a snippy little breed and I try to control who pets her. She's done better since staying with a friend who has pony club kids around frequently. She needed to get adjusted to kids. I'm still cautious with her.

I have a friend who got all steamed up and proclaimed "I can control a horse, I can certainly control a dog." But there are two things wrong with that proclamation. (1) No, if a horse goes into total flight mode (they don't have the fight side of the fight or flight response, being prey animals) you can't control them. and (2) why is it her 30# dog bit a child in the face? If it had been a 100+ pound dog it could have killed the kid. Grain of salt...

I don't know if giving treats to the dog will endear you to them if you don't have one to toss them when you want to pass. Worth a try!

Meter readers carry some stuff that will stop a dog in its tracks. I might have to carry that.

Seems your LL could keep his dog on a schedule so you will not have to deal with it. Or find another place to walk the dog, or fence a section or.... I feel for ya. Glad you weren't hurt worse.
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