Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ December 2017

If You Are Bitten By a Dog

By Fiona Morrissey

This is what to expect from Animal Services of Montgomery County if you get a dog bite.  Last February, I was attacked by a Great White Pyrenees that lives down my alley, so I know the drill.

After reporting the bite to Animal Services (301.279.8000) a police officer will then call to the house of the dog’s owners on the same day and the animal in question will be quarantined for a week or so and then tested for rabies.  The victim of the dog bite is then informed of the result by the officer in charge of the case, either by telephone or house visit.

For Animal Services, the rabies issue is a crucial concern and rightly so, but the welfare of the person who is bitten is another matter.  There is no question of obtaining a muzzle order for the dog if this is a first-time offense, no matter how traumatic for the victim.  To obtain a muzzle order (official term is an “abatement order”), the dog has to attack a second time.

It can be difficult if you are on friendly terms with the dog’s owners, but you must report a dog bite to the proper authorities regardless.  It’s not a question of how you feel; it’s the civic-minded thing to do.

Apart from the rabies factor, reporting a bite forces the owners of the dog to take the attack more seriously than if it went unreported.  They know that if their dog bites again, the consequences will be more severe.  At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that, if the dog that hurt me injures someone else, Animal Services will force its owners to muzzle him and, as a result, our neighborhood, or any public space where their unpredictable 150-lb. pet is taken, will be a safer place.  ■

   © 2017 NFCCA  [Source:]