“Bite and Run” Should Be a Crime

Police are looking for the owner of a dog that bit two young boys who were playing in a park, sending both to the hospital with significant injuries. (See Police look for dog, owner after two children bitten at Kan. park.) 

What is the difference between running from a fender-bender and running away with your dog when it bites a person? When the dog owner runs away, the dog will not be observed for possible rabies, and therefore the victim is facing medical bills between $15,000 and $25,000 for rabies vaccinations, and all the pain and anxiety that goes along with it. Additionally, the dog owner and his or her animal are unidentified to authorities, and there is no record that the particular dog is a biter, which means no compensation for the next victim if this happens in a “one-bite state.” 

These are just some of the reasons why “bite and run” should be a crime, just like “hit and run” which applies only to vehicular accidents. My Model Dog Bite Statute contains the following prohibitions against “bite and run”:

12. Every person who owns, harbors, keeps, or is in temporary possession of a dog shall be required to provide in writing the official registration number of the dog and that person’s name and address, and the name and address of the owner of the dog if that person is not the owner, to anyone whom the dog has injured or damaged, or the parents if the victim was a minor, at the time of the incident or as soon as possible thereafter, whether or not requested to provide such information, and to anyone who requests such information after witnessing a violation of any law involving that dog.

13. The owner, harborer or keeper of any dog shall provide a copy of its most recent proof of rabies vaccination to anyone whom the dog has injured, or the parents of an injured minor, at the time of the incident or as soon as possible thereafter, whether or not requested to provide such information. If the dog never received such vaccination, a written statement to that effect shall be provided to the person who was injured, or the parents of an injured minor.