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Albuquerque Dog Bite Lawyer

Albuquerque Dog Bite Lawyer

Perhaps you went out walking, whether to get to work, take your child to school, or for exercise. Or maybe you were merely standing in your front yard enjoying some fresh air, or getting in or out of the car in the driveway. Next thing you knew, a dog appeared out of nowhere and bit you, your kids, or another family member. Even worse, raising your voice at it or trying to shoo it away didn’t get it to stop attacking. By the time it was subdued, you or your family was left with serious puncture wounds, broken bones, a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, disfigurement, or perhaps even dead.

It’s time to schedule a consultation with an Albuquerque dog bite lawyer to discuss your legal options for holding the dog’s owner responsible.

Dog Bite Statistics To Know

Statistics compiled by the American Veterinary Medical Association suggest that 4.5 million or more Americans suffer dog bites each year and that at least 800,000 of those bitten receive follow-up medical care for those injuries. That same data also reveals that at least half of those attacked by canines are children.

Furthermore, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show in recent years, women have been more likely to die in dog bite or strike attacks compared with males. Additionally, the federal agency’s most recent data suggests that losses of life due to these bites doubled for women aged 20 to 44 and men aged 15 to 37 between 2018 and 2021.

Dog bites are a big issue in our part of New Mexico. In fact, it’s such a significant problem that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has begun tracking the number of dog attacks on its Albuquerque postal workers.

To this end, after 22 dog attacks in 2019, the USPS listed our city as number 17 among the top 25 cities in the U.S. for dog attacks.

Certain Dog Breeds Are More Dangerous Than Others

Researchers have attempted to narrow down a list of breeds of dogs that are particularly dangerous for years so they can urge individuals to be extra cautious when navigating them. They’ve whittled down that listing of the most dangerous breeds to the following:

  • Wolf-hybrids
  • Pitbulls
  • Cocker spaniels
  • Terriers
  • Dalmatians
  • German shepherds
  • Rottweilers

Where Do Dog Attacks Occur?

The list of places where dog bites occur is endless. According to the AVMA resource cited above, the most common places these incidents occur include:

  • In homes, backyards, or neighborhoods
  • At parks, playgrounds, and dog parks
  • On urban sidewalks

Also, as you may suspect, these incidents commonly occur during police stops or when police are in pursuit of a fleeing suspect. However, unlike the other scenarios above, law enforcement is generally absolved of liability for situations like these involving a K-9 patrol attack. However, all cases are different. If they are indeed liable, you can expect your attorney to let you know.

Understanding Angel’s Law

The City of Albuquerque adopted Angel’s Law in 2016 with the aim of protecting the general public (especially children and others with limited means of defending themselves) from being attacked by aggressive dogs.

As such, the law:

  • Allows for the labeling of dogs as potentially dangerous if any instances of the canine attacking their owner or others have been reported before.
  • Gives government officials the right to label a dog that displays aggressive tendencies, such as jumping on the fence or chasing others (both without any provocation) as dangerous.
  • Permits owners to be labeled as “irresponsible” if they act in a way that shows that they’re not capable of safely or humanely possessing the animal.

Our New Mexico city maintains a public listing of dogs it deems as dangerous on its website. Each profile includes the:

  • Dog’s name
  • Its description
  • Location where it’s housed or kept

The city’s website is clear about how irresponsible dog owners who fail to properly restrain their dogs may be both civilly and criminally liable for any harm their pet causes.

A dog bite attorney is here to assist you in pursuing a civil case against the negligent pet owner who allowed their dangerous canine to attack you, so call our office for a free consultation to learn more about your rights to pursue this legal option.

Understanding the Bernalillo County Animal Care Ordinance

Section 6-40 of the Bernalillo County Animal Ordinance addresses animal bites and says that owners have the following responsibilities when such attacks occur:

  • They must report the occurrence to the county’s animal services department no more than 24 hours after the incident occurs.
  • They are required to surrender the pet in question to the county’s animal care services officer when doing so is deemed appropriate, which involves the impounding and quarantining of the canine for ten days or more from the time of the bite.

That same section of the ordinance outlines how physicians who treat individuals with animal bites must report having rendered treatment to the county manager’s office within 24 hours. When making such a report, doctors are required to provide the following (when known):

  • The responsible animal owner’s name and address
  • Any additional details that can assist the animal care services in their investigation into its immunization status

The ordinance also spells out circumstances under which the county may quarantine residents’ dogs instead of impounding them at one of their facilities. It also clarifies what the implications are if a resident violates that quarantine without prior authorization.

Reporting Aggressive Dog Incidents in Bernalillo County

The City of Albuquerque allows individuals to report threatening or known aggressive dogs to its Animal Welfare Department via phone by dialing 311 (505-768-2000) or by email at

Additionally, it maintains an online incident information form to make such reports. The following information must be supplied when doing so:

  • Location of the incident (it requests a specific address or the nearest cross-streets)
  • Description of the incident
  • Information about the aggressive dog, including a physical description and the home location of the animal (if known)
  • The reporter’s contact information, including their name, email address, and phone number

The city encourages individuals attacked by animals outside of Albuquerque city limits to make a report to the Bernalillo County Animal Care Services Enforcement Office at 505-468-7387.

City officials discourage anyone who has suffered serious injuries from a dog attack from calling or using their online form referenced above to report the incident. Instead, it urges victims to call 911 immediately, and make a report only after receiving medical care.

Does New Mexico Have a One-Bite Rule?

Our state doesn’t have an explicit one-bite rule; however, when cases like these are litigated in the courtroom, there is a uniform jury instruction read by the presiding judge that clarifies how dog owners are liable for the harm their canine inflicts upon others if the owner was aware that their dog had the potential of being or was already known to be vicious.

The instructions include one exception that disallows victims from demanding compensation from the owner, which is if the person bitten was already aware of the dog’s vicious tendencies or the victim intentionally incited the animal, leaving them vulnerable to attack.

This instruction is taken by many legal analysts as New Mexico’s de facto one-bite statute, which is why our state gets listed among the 16 states with such a law in place.

Factors That Can Impact Your Ability To Recover Compensation

Exclusions may apply depending on the nature of one’s visit to the property where the incident occurred, including whether they were trespassing at the time.

A trespasser is someone who was unlawfully present on someone else’s property, meaning the owner did not know about or authorize their presence. Insurers tend to deny claims filed on behalf of victims hurt under these circumstances.

The same goes for invitees or guests where an owner or someone else makes verbal warnings of a dog’s potential to act aggressively or in instances where there are unheeded warning signs of a potentially vicious dog.

To prove strict liability, injured parties seeking compensation must be able to successfully demonstrate prior knowledge of a dog’s aggression. Prior reports filed with the City of Albuquerque or other municipal authorities and Bernalillo County can prove this.

So, too, can surveillance footage or accounts of witnesses who’ve seen the dog’s aggression first-hand.

An experienced attorney will know exactly what your legal rights and options are upon learning more about how the injury event occurred, and when reviewing any incident report and other compiled evidence.

So, call to schedule your initial no-obligation, free consultation now.

Understanding Bite Severity Classifications

Dr. Ian Dunbar’s Dog Bite Scale is a widely recognized source for understanding the severity of these injuries. The levels or extent of bites are broken down as follows:

  • Level 1: Aggressive or obnoxious canine behavior without teeth-skin contact.
  • Level 2: Skin-mouth contact, sometimes leading to lacerations but no puncture wounds.
  • Level 3: Between 1-4 shallow puncture wounds caused by a single bite accompanied by additional lacerations caused by retracting the dog away from its victim.
  • Level 4: At least 1-4 deep puncture wounds left behind by a single bite, along with bruising or lacerations caused by the dog continuing to act aggressively by shaking or continuing to latch on.
  • Level 5: Multiple bite incidents that leave behind between 2 and 4 bites.
  • Level 6: A canine attack that lead to a victim’s death.

Again, this guide to dog bites can help you assess where on the severity spectrum your injury lies and help you determine whether to try to amicably reach an agreement with the dog’s owner or their homeowners’ policy, or whether you need to bring in an attorney to help you build a case and hold liable parties accountable.

Compensation for Victims

Prospective clients often ask us how much of a financial recovery they might be eligible for after a dog bites them. There’s no one answer to this question. It really depends on various factors, including:

  • The victim’s age
  • The severity of the victim’s injuries and associated losses
  • Whether the victim has lasting impairments
  • How much in homeowners’ insurance cover the dog’s owner has

Get Experienced Legal Help if a Dog Bit You in Albuquerque, NM

Dog bite injury cases involve a lot of moving parts, much like other property-involved cases do. Understanding how different county and city ordinances or laws apply to you and the dog’s owner can be challenging.

Also, since you must generally file a claim with a homeowner’s policy or the insurer of the party where the incident occurred, sorting out what insurance they have can be difficult.

You can trust our team at Barrera Law Group LLC to provide you with sound legal advice, starting with your initial consultation with an Albuquerque dog bite lawyer in our office.

And if we decide to work together, you can rest comfortably knowing that we’ll do everything within our power to advocate for your best interests so that you have the potential of securing a favorable settlement in your case.

So, please reach out to our law office to meet with an attorney to get the ball rolling on securing the justice you deserve.

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