Cape Cod community sees increase in dog bite cases

One Cape Cod community has experienced a rash of dog bite complaints over the months of June and July. The law requires that a doctor treating a cat or dog bite victim must report the incident to the local animal control officer (ACO). Once notified, the ACO then places the animal under quarantine for 10 days and checks periodically over that time period to ensure the person responsible for the animal is in conformance with the law.

In the Cape Cod community of Dennis there were nine dog bite reports in June alone. Four more were logged in July. A prior ACO said that, in her many years on the job, she had never before seen as many as nine reported dog bite cases in one month. It is reported that there are over 1800 licensed dogs in Dennis alone.

The current Dennis ACO said that at least some of the recent dog bite attacks could have been prevented. She reiterated that no one should approach a strange dog, even those that appear friendly. One should not make the assumption that it is okay to touch a dog. Further, owners are cautioned to keep their dogs on a leash in well populated areas unless the animal is voice trained.

The apparent increase in dog bite attacks in this Cape Cod town begs the question: what do you do if you have been bitten? Clearly, the first order of business is to seek medical attention, recognizing that the medical provider will likely report the incident to the local ACO. Those who are seriously injured have options under Massachusetts law. Animal bites are frightening, and our courts are available to those who have suffered injury and seek reimbursement based on claims of negligence that caused or contributed to any damages sustained.

Source:, “In Dennis, dog bites are on the rise,” Nicole Muller, Aug. 10, 2012

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