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What Happens to My Dog If He Bites Someone?

May 24, 2024Articles

Your dog may be your best friend or “your baby” but it’s also an animal with its own unique animal instincts and motives we can’t always predict or control. However, taking ownership of a dog means you also take responsibility for the dog’s actions, including strict liability for dog bites in Connecticut and most states. Under strict liability laws for pet owners, you are responsible for a bite victim’s damages, including medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering if your dog causes injury. Typically, this compensation comes from your property liability insurance even if the dog bite accident occurred off your property. For many dog owners; however, one of the first questions they have after an attack, is “What happens to my dog now?”

Connecticut Protects Citizens Against Dangerous Dogs

Like most states, Connecticut allows a person under attack by a dangerous dog, or protecting another person from attack, to kill the dog if it’s loose and off the owner’s property when the attack occurs. The state laws also allow animal control officers to kill a dog they consider to be a danger due to aggression or attack. Under state statute (CGS § 22-358), the law says the following:

“Anyone who is bitten by a dog or who shows visible evidence of having been attacked may kill the animal during the attack, if it happens off the animal owner’s or keeper’s property.”

Under this statute, dog owners may not allow their pets to roam freely off of their property. Violating this law is an infraction with penalties including fines of up to $100.00. If a dog is aggressive or presents a hazard or nuisance, animal control officers have the right to restrain or dispose of the dog in any way the court deems necessary.

Quarantining a Dog After a Bite

After a dog bites someone off of the dog owner’s property, the law requires a 14-day quarantine. Animal control officers may legally enter the owner’s property and take the dog. The quarantine typically takes place at a dog pound or veterinary hospital and may include testing and testing for transmissible diseases. The dog owner is responsible for paying for the quarantine period. After the quarantine, animal control may return the dog with orders for the owner to properly restrain the dog on the property. In some cases, the animal control officers recommend euthanization at the end of the 14 days. In this case, they humanely kill the dog and test it for rabies.


Whether or not animal control officers return the dog to the owner or euthanize it, depends on the severity of the bites and attack. The Ian Dunbar Dog Bite Scale measures the severity of bites between Level One injuries that don’t break the skin, and Level Five injuries with tearing and mutilation. Level Six injuries are those that result in consumed body parts and/or the victim’s death.

If the dog bite occurs on the owner’s property, the quarantine period may take place on the property with the dog properly restrained.

Police dogs under the control of a law enforcement officer are exempt from the state’s dog bite statute.

Appealing a Dog Disposal Order

If Animal Control officers decide that a dog presents a significant safety hazard to the public, they may order its “disposal” or euthanization. A dog owner has a right to appeal this decision if they file the appeal within 14 days of receiving the disposal order. The animal control officer decides whether the dog remains in the animal control facility or returns home to its owner during the appeal process.