Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

Staying Safe: Dog Bites in King County, Washington

Posted Friday, December 15, 2023 by Chris Thayer

According to the Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC), Animal Control Officers (ACOs) respond to more than 5,000 calls a year. RASKC covers unincorporated areas of King County as well as 25 contract cities such as Kent, Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, and Mercer Island, covering nearly 1,100 square miles and a population of just over one million.

While RASKC is the place to turn for a 24-hour response, it is important to know how to stay safe and keep your animals safe.

If you have been involved in a traffic incident, talking with an experienced King County Personal Injury lawyer may help you decide how to move forward.

Dangers of Dog Bites in King County, Washington

King County, Washington, is home to many beloved pets, yet even the gentlest dog can attack if they are provoked. A dog may bite, leaving not only physical damage but also psychological impact. Aggressive dogs can knock a person to the ground, which may result in broken bones, spinal injury, or head injury.

While some injuries may be a minor impact, such as bruising, others can be serious, life-altering, and even fatal.

Cities in Washington state have identified several breed-specific laws banning the ownership of pit bulls and other breeds that are identified as dangerous.

*Liability for Dog-Bite Injuries in Washington*Some states have what is known as a “one-bite” rule, which enables the dog owner to have a single chance to identify their dog as dangerous or vicious. In Washington, the rules regarding dog bites are different and termed ‘strict liability.’

This law means that a dog owner is fully liable for injuries that their dogs inflict on other people. Yet, liability can be contested with two possible defenses” provocation or trespassing.

Provocation means that the victim has to prove that they did nothing to provoke the dog. The victim must also prove that they were not trespassing on private property and had a lawful right to be at the location where the attack took place.

These defenses are somewhat limited, and if the dog owner knows that their dog was dangerous or vicious but did nothing to stop the attack, they may also face criminal liability.

*Dog Licensing and Control Zones in Washington*According to the RASKC, pet owners should be aware of and abide by Washington dog bite laws. Chapter 16.10 RCW covers the guidelines for dog licensing and dog control zones. Understanding these rules can help pet owners keep their dogs safe and be responsible citizens in the community.

*Be a Responsible Pet Owner in King County, Washington*If you are a pet owner, keep your pets’ rabies vaccinations up to date. In King County, all dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated for rabies by the age of 4 months and have booster vaccinations regularly.

Further, keep your pets under direct supervision. This may help your animal stay out of contact with a wild animal and prevent your pet from attacking another person. Finally, spay or neuter your animal to help reduce the number of stray and unvaccinated pets.

*Speak to a Compassionate King County Lawyer*If you have experienced a dog bite injury in Kent or King County, you may have questions about compensation and the legal process. Our experienced team at Pivotal Law is here to discuss your situation, answer your questions, and explore legal options.