How Many Times Can a Dog Bite Before Being Put Down?


Cassandra Nguy

The amount of times a dog can bite before being put down depends on your state’s dog bite laws. 30 states follow strict liability laws where the dog owner is liable for all damages placed on the victim.

14 states are less strict and follow the one-bite rule, allowing the dog owner to be protected from liability for their first bite. However, such a rule can be overruled if:

  • The dog was shown to be dangerous
  • The owner was aware of their dog’s viciousness prior to the incident
  • The dog’s harmful nature caused damage to a person or property.

Some states have mixed dog bite laws which apply both the one-bite rule and strict liability. For that reason, both have to be accounted for when filing a dog bite lawsuit.

Whether you live in a one-bite, strict liability, or a mixed state, keep dog owners liable for their negligent behavior, including violating their state’s leash laws, or other dog bite laws leading to injury. Find a personal injury attorney to know whether your state will permit recovery upon any of these other grounds.

For further information, you can contact LegalASAP, available 24/7 for a free consultation. We’ll help connect you to a personal injury lawyer who knows your state’s dog bite laws.

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Do Dogs Have to Get Put Down After Every Dog Bite?

It depends on your state’s dog bite laws and your specific case whether the dog biting you will get put down. If the bite was not severe and was their first one to cause injury without vicious intent, then dog owners may be saved by the one-bite rule in some states. However, victims whose injuries are dangerously severe may seek legal action.

Examples of Dog Bite Euthanasia Laws

In California, a dog requires euthanasia after biting two people or in 2 separate incidents. A hearing would be required to determine whether euthanizing the dog is necessary for the general public’s safety.

In Delaware, there are several measures required for a dog to get euthanized. Such as Del. Code tit. 16 § 3081F where the Justice of the Peace Court determines whether the dog is vicious enough to be put down.

(b) If the Justice of the Peace Court determines that a dog is potentially dangerous, the owner shall comply with all conditions that the Court orders under § 3077F(c)(4) of this title, within 30 days from the date of the order. The Justice of the Peace Court may order the dog to remain in the custody of the State until all conditions have been met.

(c) If another incident occurs within the period of time allowed for compliance under subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the Department shall immediately seize the dog and dispose of it in accordance with subchapter I of this chapter.

(d) If the Justice of the Peace Court determines a dog to be nondangerous, the dog shall be released to its owner, subject to any conditions imposed under § 3080F of this title.

Del. Code tit. 16 § 3081F

Another would be Del. Code tit. 16 § 3073F where if the owner cannot find their dog within 5 days, when found by an animal welfare officer, the dog may be impounded and killed if the dog shows signs of hostility according to Delaware dog bite law.

In New Mexico, there’s much different reasons for a dog to be put down. Either the owner admits that their dog is dangerous and transfers ownership to an animal control authority, or the decision is made in court according to NM Stat § 77-1A-4.

If the owner doesn’t comply with their state’s dog bite laws, they may face penalties leading to:

  • Paying fines and liability costs
  • Confiscation of the animal
  • Being prohibited to own or possess a dog
  • Charges for several measures of a third or fourth degree felony

For more information, you can contact LegalASAP for a personal injury claim for free and they will connect you to the right lawyer to handle your case.

When is Euthanasia Necessary?

Euthanasia is necessary if the dog is a threat to the public or shows signs of carrying rabies. If you’re injured from a dog bite, it depends on how bad the injury is and the court’s decision to euthanize the dog.

In some statutory strict liability states like California, it takes two people being bitten to have the dog euthanized under the court’s decision.

What is the One-Bite Rule?

The one-bite rule applies if the owner knew or should’ve known that their dog would cause injury to the victim. Hereafter, the owner is required to pay for all medical bills, pain, trauma, and wrongful death on the owner’s private or public property.

This rule implies that a dog gets one free bite. Which means that after the first bite the owner should already be aware of their dog’s dangerous tendencies. A prior incident can be used as evidence to prove that the owner should’ve been aware of their dog’s harmful behavior.

These states are under the one-bite rule jurisdiction:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

When is a Dog Dangerous?

A dog is dangerous when they inflict potential injury on their victims or possessions, even when unprovoked. Each state has their own way of determining whether a dog is dangerous under the civil code.

For example, under FAC § 31603, A vicious dog is defined as either of the following:

(1) Any dog that, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner, inflicts severe injury on or kills a human being.

(2) Any dog previously determined to be and currently listed as a potentially dangerous dog that, after its owner or keeper has been notified of this determination, continues the behavior described in Section 31602 or is maintained in violation of Section 31641, 31642, or 31643.

FAC § 31603

Another example, under Maryland’s statute, a dog is dangerous when, without provocation, has killed or severely harmed a person or domestic animal. According to MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-619, a dog is considered dangerous when the following has occurred:

  • The dog bit a person
  • When a dog inflicted injury or killed a domestic animal not on the owner’s property
  • Attacking without provocation

In Nebraska, an animal control authority determines a dog is dangerous when the animal has killed or caused injury that requires medical treatment on a human being. Also, separate instances of the dog killing domesticated animals can prove the dog is dangerous under Neb. Rev. St. § 54-617.

Find a Personal Injury Attorney After a Dog Bite with LegalASAP

If you or someone you know has been suffering from an injury caused by a dog bite, look no more. LegalASAP is affiliated with over 500+ law firms across the US and can connect you with an attorney for your claim.

Each state has different regulations regarding dog bites. For instance, some states don’t have specified dog bite regulations but instead follow the laws of negligence or other municipal laws. Therefore, it’s best to connect with an attorney specialized in your state.

If you’re worried about costs, know that most personal injury lawyers work under contingency fees. This means that their services are free until your settlement arrives. Which leaves no risk to you if they lose your case including no advanced costs during the legal process.

Don’t hesitate! Call now at 888-927-3080 or you can fill out this short evaluation form to speak with a representative directly.

Cassandra Nguy
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Cassandra Tran Nguy is a legal writer living in Los Angeles, California. She graduated cum laude from California State University, Northridge with a B.A. in English Creative Writing and a minor in Marketing. Visit her online profile at