Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, PhD, CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”


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Animal control officer seeks dog bite reading material

Q. I work as animal control officer for the City of San Jose as a bite  investigator. I always am asked questons by the dog owner will I get sued, am I liable, what could I have done to prevent this from happening? Is there some type of reading material that I can give to the dog owner that can educated them? Most of the quarantine that I do are home quarantines, what is your feelings about that? Joann Watt, San Jose

A. I have no problem with home quarantine provided that it is done in a manner and that is not detrimental to the dog. Certainly, it is preferred to quarantine in the shelter where often a dog may deteriorate both mentally and physically. Owners with potentially dangerous dog need to be educated in effective strategies for dog bite prevention. The American Medical Veterinary Medical Association recently published the findings of their task force and it addressed this issue in detail. You might want to consider summarizing their findings, make photocopies for distribution, and then pass the photocopies onto owners who you feel need the guidance. (AVMA Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions. A community approach to dog bite prevention. JAVMA 2001; 218: 1732-1749).