Question: “How Do I Find the Law in My City, County and State?”

law booksFirst, if you are a dog bite victim, you should not attempt to handle your case yourself unless no blood was drawn, bones broken, sprains incurred, etc. Instead, send Mr. Phillips a message and start a discussion with him about your incident. If you have other reasons for researching the law, keep reading.

There are four equally important sources of dog bite law. You have to research all of them. They are the city laws, county laws, state statutes, and state cases.

For city law, do one or more of the following:

Contact your city clerk and ask for a written copy of the dog laws of your city.

Go to the nearest library or law library, and ask the reference librarian to (a) show you the municipal code of your city, and (b) help you find the dog laws.

On the Internet, the best resources for city law are listed on the Links page of this web site. Another Internet source would be your city’s website, if there is one. You also can contact your city clerk and ask whether the municipal code is online; if so, get the URL (i.e., the online address).

For county law, contact the county clerk instead of the city clerk, and ask the clerk or librarian for the county code instead of the municipal code. Counties frequently have websites, which are good sources of all kinds of practical information. The link page of this website also leads to county codes.

For state statutes, go to Legal Rights of Dog Bite Victims in the USA. It has a complete discussion of state statutes and cases. If your state has a dog bite statute, you will find a link to it. There are also links to some jurisdictions that do not have dog bite statutes.

For state laws that are not mentioned on this website, use Findlaw . First click on the name of your state. Then select “Primary materials – Cases, Codes and Regulations.” Then click on “Statutes” or “Revised Statutes” to find the statutory laws (the best place to start). Search for the word “dog” and read everything that comes up.

For state cases, follow the directions for state statutes on this website. If you want to find a case that is not on Dog Bite law, first you need to be warned about something. It takes a legal education to understand the meaning of court decisions, and to know how to apply court decisions to specific incidents. If you want to try, find the cases on Findlaw or on FastSearch. However, it is highly recommended that you try to find on Dog Bite Law the analysis that you need.