Friday, March 25, 2016

What to do if you're attacked or bitten by a dog in Socorro

I've spoken with Chief Winders of the Socorro Police Department a couple of times in recent weeks about how to work with the Socorro Police to respond to incidents in which loose dogs attack or bite.  He's offered the following memo with guideline on how to respond to a dog attack and how to get the Socorro Police Department to respond.

March 25, 2016

From: Chief Mike Winders

The following is guidelines I obtained from and seem to be based on actually being bitten.

Preferred protocol for dog attacks

  • Take action to ensure your safety
    If you are attacked by a dog take action needed to ensure you are safe.

  • Identify the dog and its owner
    Immediately, if possible, identify the dog and its owner or the people who had custody of the dog when it attacked you. Take photos of the dog if possible. Obtain these names and addresses along with witness information. If the dog's owner cannot be identified, you may be forced to undergo a series of rabies shots, which are painful and expensive.

  • Seek medical care
    Depending upon the severity of the dog bite, contact first responders (9-1-1) for immediate medical attention or have someone drive you to emergency care. Always seek professional medical treatment after being bitten or attacked by a dog. The risk of infection from a dog bite is far too great to ignore.

  • File a dog bite report
    After you've been medically treated -- even if the injury was minor -- file a dog bite report with the proper city or county authorities. This legally documents your case and
    provides help to the next victim who may be bitten or attacked by the same dog. Without a paper trail, authorities cannot enforce effectively. Make sure and let the authorities know if you want to pursue criminal charges.

  • Photograph your injuries
    Take photos of your injuries, even if you need to unwrap gauze. Confer with a doctor or nurse as needed. They will tell you a safe manner in which to do so. It is also recommended that you photograph all of your wounds, including bruises, as well as all torn, bloody clothing and the location of the attack.

Provide Medical records to authorities
If you seek medical provide medical records pertaining to the attack to authorities as these documents are an important piece of evidence in a criminal proceeding.

If you are attacked but not injured:

Try to get a good description of the dog. A picture is even better but don’t put yourself in danger taking the pic. Try to note which area or house the dog came from.
Go to a nearby area where you are safe and call 575-835-4222 and report the incident. Tell the dispatcher where you are, that you will wait there, and that you want to file a report.
Depending on the time of day and day of the week, either an animal control officer or a police officer will respond to your location. Tell the officer you want to file a report and want to pursue charges on the dog’s owner. Get the officers name.
If you are not satisfied with the officers response, call me on my cell at 505-550-6129.

Mike Winders
Chief of Police

Socorro Police Department

1 comment:

Randy Lawrence said...

This is a wonderful post. Most people aren't aware of what to do in these situations, it's great to have a law enforcement figure issue something that gives some guidelines. We all hope that something like this would never happen to us or our family, but the reality is that it does happen and we need to know what to do when it does!

Randy Lawrence @ Goldin Legal