The Ins and Outs of Nevada’s Dog Bite Laws

by Gina Corena

Last Updated on September 29,2023

The Ins and Outs of Nevada’s Dog Bite Laws

In February 2023, a four year old boy was with his mother near the Winnemucca Courthouse when two dogs jumped from a pickup truck, bit the boy on the leg, and dragged him into the street. Fortunately, the boy’s mother was able to chase the dogs away before they caused more serious harm, but dog bites can be dangerous or even deadly for victims, and come with severe legal penalties for dog owners. No dog owner wants to be faced with their pet being impounded if it injures someone, and dog bites are painful with the potential to cause disfigurement. Whether for prevention or pursuing compensation, what do Nevadans need to know about the state’s dog bite laws? 

While dog bites are a significant concern, there are other legal issues that residents should be aware of. For instance, the elderly, a vulnerable segment of our population, often face challenges like nursing home abuse. Additionally, in this age of social media, incidents like filming an accident for TikTok can lead to unforeseen legal complications. Not to mention, data breaches, such as the MGM data breach, have raised concerns about personal information security.

In Nevada, the laws governing dog bites fall primarily under Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 202, specifically addressing Crimes Against Public Health and Safety. The key statute, NRS 202.500, sets forth the provisions for dog owners’ liability in cases where their dog bites or injures another person, domestic animal, or livestock. These laws aim to protect the public from potential harm caused by dogs and ensure that dog owners take responsibility for their pets’ actions. Both dog owners and potential victims should familiarize themselves with Nevada’s dog bite laws to understand their rights and responsibilities in case man’s best friend turns aggressive.

Can a Dog Owner be Held Liable for Damages or Criminal Penalties?

Yes, a dog owner can be held liable for damages if their dog bites someone in Nevada. However, there are certain exceptions to this liability, such as when the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property or if the victim provoked the dog. It’s important for dog owners to understand their potential liability and take necessary precautions to prevent incidents. Likewise, victims should be aware of their rights to pursue compensation for damages resulting from a dog bite.

Violating Nevada’s dog bite laws can result in serious consequences for dog owners. These consequences can include both civil and criminal penalties. Civilly, a dog owner may be held liable for damages caused by their dog’s actions, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. In addition, a dog owner may face criminal charges, ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, if they knowingly harbored a dangerous dog and failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent an attack. It is imperative for dog owners to adhere to Nevada’s dog bite laws and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of others and protect themselves from potential legal trouble.

Preventative Measures for Dog Owners

Preventative measures for dog owners are crucial in reducing the risk of dog bites and potential liability. Responsible dog ownership includes proper training, socialization, and supervision of the pet. Obedience training helps teach dogs to follow commands and behave appropriately around people and other animals. Socializing dogs from a young age exposes them to various situations, enabling them to feel more comfortable in different environments. Additionally, dog owners should always supervise their pets, especially when interacting with unfamiliar people or animals. Ensuring dogs are securely confined or leashed when outdoors can also prevent unexpected encounters. Taking these proactive steps help dog owners to minimize the likelihood of incidents and fulfill their duty to protect public safety.

Understanding the Role of Animal Control and Law Enforcement

Understanding the role of animal control and law enforcement is important when dealing with dog bite incidents in Nevada. These agencies are responsible for enforcing the state’s dog bite laws, investigating reported incidents, and taking appropriate actions to protect public safety. When a dog bite occurs, victims should promptly report the incident to their local animal control or law enforcement agency. These authorities will place the dog under observation for rabies, investigate the circumstances surrounding the bite, and determine if any laws have been violated. Cooperation with animal control and law enforcement is crucial for both dog owners and victims to ensure a proper resolution and uphold Nevada’s dog bite laws.

What to Do if Bitten by a Dog in Nevada

Dog bite victims in Nevada should  take appropriate steps to ensure their safety and protect their rights. When bitten by a dog, the victim should first seek immediate medical attention for their injuries sustained, as dog bites can cause severe complications if left untreated. The next priority is to gather information about the dog and its owner, including the owner’s contact details and any available information about the dog’s vaccination history. The incident should be reported to the local animal control or law enforcement agency, as they will investigate the case and take necessary actions. 

Common Injuries Resulting from Dog Bites

Dog bites can result in a range of injuries, some of which may have lasting consequences for victims. Common injuries include puncture wounds, lacerations, and abrasions, which can lead to infections if not properly treated. More severe bites can cause muscle, tendon, or ligament damage, often requiring surgical intervention. In some cases, victims may suffer from disfigurement or scarring, which can have significant emotional and psychological impacts. Additionally, dog bite incidents can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other anxiety-related conditions. It is crucial for victims to seek prompt medical attention following a dog bite to minimize the risk of complications and ensure proper documentation of their injuries.

Seeking Compensation for Dog Bite Victims

Nevada Dog Bites Law

Seeking compensation for dog bite victims is an important aspect of Nevada’s dog bite laws. Victims who have suffered injuries due to a dog bite may be entitled to recover damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. In Nevada, a strict liability state, the dog owner can be held responsible for any damages resulting from their dog’s actions, even if they were unaware of the dog’s potential to bite. 

To seek compensation, victims should consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling dog bite cases and can effectively navigate the legal process to obtain a fair settlement or judgment. Contact us or call 702-680-1111 today for a free consultation

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