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How to Report a Dog Bite in New Mexico

Posted in Dog Bite

If you get bitten by a dog in New Mexico, you have a responsibility to report the incident. Reporting dog attacks can make your community safer. Your local animal control authority will keep track of dog bite incidents to determine if and when a dog should be deemed “dangerous,” meaning the owner will be given additional responsibilities to keep others in the community safe. Take the following steps to report a dog attack.

Call 911 in an Emergency

If you or someone you know gets attacked by a dog and the injuries appear severe or life-threatening, call 911 to request paramedics immediately. If you believe your life is in danger, call the police to request assistance. The police can send units to catch a dangerous stray dog, for example, and take your statement. Obtaining a police report for a dog bite injury can help you document the incident. When the police arrive, explain what happened but do not admit fault. Write down your police report number before you leave.

Gather Information About the Attack

Gather as much information as you can about the dog bite incident. If the pet owner is present, get his or her name and contact information. Ask for details about the dog, such as its breed, age and vaccination history. Write down the dog owner’s property insurance company information so that you can file a claim later.

Take photographs while you are at the scene of the attack. Consider keeping an injury journal to record how you feel each day and how your injuries impact your life. Request copies of your medical records and any communications sent to you from an insurance company. The more information you can collect about the incident, the better.

Contact Your Local Animal Control Center

Next, report the dog bite to the correct animal control center. In Albuquerque, for example, report it to the City of Albuquerque Animal Welfare Office. You can report an aggressive dog using its online reporting form or by calling (505) 468-7387. Reporting a dog bite to animal control is important for the safety of your community.


Once you report a dog bite to animal control, they may quarantine the animal for up to 14 days to check for rabies. If a dog has a history of biting or attacking others, the city may deem it a “potentially dangerous” or “dangerous” dog. This does not mean the owner will be required to put the animal down. Instead, owning a dangerous dog will come with special restrictions, such as keeping the dog muzzled on walks.

If an investigation finds that the owner has been irresponsible, he or she may be deemed incapable of safely owning the animal. Reporting a dog bite to animal control can document the animal’s history of viciousness and potentially help others if the dog bites another victim in the future. That individual could use your report as evidence that the pet owner knew or reasonably should have known of the dog’s vicious propensities.

Report the Incident to the Pet Owner’s Insurance Company

Finally, report the dog bite incident to the pet owner’s property insurance company to seek financial benefits. New Mexico uses what is known as a one-bite rule for awarding financial compensation for a dog attack. Under this rule, you or a dog bite lawyer in Albuquerque must prove that the pet owner should have been aware of the dog’s vicious or aggressive propensities but failed to prevent the attack. In a strict liability dog bite state, a pet owner is held responsible for attacks regardless of any prior knowledge of viciousness.

If you believe you are eligible for financial compensation from a pet owner’s insurance company after a dog bite injury, file a claim as soon as possible. Then, contact an attorney for assistance with the claims process. A lawyer can help you negotiate fair compensation.