Dog aggression can be a scary and confusing situation, especially if the aggression results in a bite or attack. When faced with an aggressive animal, it is always important to call the proper authorities so the animal can be assessed and no one else is harmed.
Understanding the Area
Every county or parish within a state handles aggressive animals differently. This is mostly due to funding issues. While most counties that encompass large cities have strict laws, regulations and animal control agencies, some rural areas have little-to-no funding to control animals -- either aggressive or not. Call your local city hall to find out whether your city or town has an animal control facility and what, if any, the laws are regarding aggressive animals.
Animal control facilities are fairly common in most areas. These facilities are typically government funded and depend solely on grants and government allowances, along with volunteers, to run the organization. These places are usually known to the general public as the "pound" or "the dog catchers." They control stray animal populations, eliminate or impound aggressive animals and, in some cases, re-home stray pets. If you are in fear of an aggressive animal or have been attacked or bitten, call animal control after receiving medical attention. They will control the situation by impounding the aggressive animal and proceeding with the case as necessary.
In areas where animal control facilities are not available and an aggressive animal is loose, someone is in danger or someone has been bitten, contact the police as soon as you are able. Police are likely to respond quickly and will address the issue by contacting the owners of the aggressive animal, or by telling you how your town deals with aggressive animals so that you can protect yourself and your family. If the animal has owners, they will likely be warned first and if the problem is not resolved, they may be cited and fines will be enforced.
The Health Department
If you or someone else has been bitten by an animal, call your local health department to report the problem and to inquire about the animal's health records. This is an important step, since dog vaccinations are required in most cities. If the dog hasn't been vaccinated, the care the patient receives may be different and include different medications.
By Jennifer Oster
Kerr County Texas: What is Animal Control?
American Veterinary Medical Foundation: Dog Bite Prevention
Doggone Safe: My Child was Bitten by a Dog
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Aggression in Dogs
About the Author
Jennifer Oster holds a Bachelor of Arts in social sciences from Louisiana State University and is also a certified lactation counselor. An expert in the field of infant and maternal nutrition, she began writing professionally in 2005 and has been featured in many nationally acclaimed magazines.