If you are a dog bite victim, your injury might be, at best, painful and unpleasant. You could suffer severe tissue damage, infections or disease after an attack. Dog bites are serious, and the law treats them as such.
But there is another side to the issue. You may have a friendly dog, but as a responsible pet owner, you know an animal’s behavior could change at any moment, for any reason. You may not know what to expect if the worst should happen.
West Virginia’s leash laws
Many states require owners to keep their dogs on a leash in public. But in West Virginia, the law does not require you to keep your dog restrained. According to the West Virginia Code, anyone who allows his or her dog to “run at large” is liable for any damage to a person or property the dog may cause.
In other words, you can legally allow your dog off its leash. But if your dog runs out into traffic and causes an accident, you are fully responsible. You will have to pay any property damages in addition to injuries resulting from the collision. Similarly, if your dog bites someone, you must pay for that person’s injury.
What will happen to my dog?
If your dog bites someone, West Virginia law requires a rabies quarantine. You must confine and quarantine your dog for at least 10 days to monitor for any signs of rabies. If you do not, law enforcement will confiscate your dog and place it in a veterinarian’s care, and you have to pay for it. Additionally, you may be subject to fines and even jail time if you fail to follow this law.