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If a Dog Bites Someone in New Mexico, Will It Be Put Down?

Posted in Dog Bite

If you get bitten by a dog in New Mexico, it is important to report the incident to your local animal control authorities. It is a common misconception that reporting a dog bite will always lead to the dog being put down (euthanized). Under New Mexico law, a dog is only at risk of being put down in extreme circumstances.

Why Should You Report a Dog Bite?

Reporting a dog bite injury is important if you wish to protect your legal rights and look out for others in your community. New Mexico animal control authorities keep track of dog attacks and bite incidents for recordkeeping purposes. If multiple incidents involving the same dog are reported, animal control may step in to hold the owner accountable and enforce rules to prevent future attacks.

Reporting a dog bite can also help you collect financial compensation for your medical bills as an injured victim. An insurance company may use your report as documentation that the dog bite incident occurred the way that you say it did. Your report can be used as evidence to qualify you for coverage from the pet owner’s property insurance provider.

What Happens When Someone Reports a Dog Bite in New Mexico?

If a dog bite incident is reported to Albuquerque Animal Protection Services or another animal control authority, an investigation will be opened to determine whether action needs to be taken against the dog or pet owner. Animal Protection Services’ main goal is to make sure the dog does not have rabies. Typically, this is done by enforcing a temporary dog quarantine or observation period. This can be done at the pet owner’s home or a designated facility. If there is evidence that more action needs to be taken to protect public safety, an animal control authority may do more.

When Will a Dog Be Put Down for Biting Someone in New Mexico?


If a dog is ordered to be euthanized (referred to as “humanely destroyed” in law) for biting someone in New Mexico, it will start with a “dangerous dog” designation. The Dangerous Dog Act, found in New Mexico Statutes, Chapter 77, Article 1A, defines a dangerous dog as one that has caused a serious injury to a person or domestic animal. This is a physical injury that results in multiple bites, broken bones, or disfiguring lacerations that require stitches or reconstructive surgery.

If an animal control authority has probable cause to deem an animal a “dangerous dog” and believes it poses an imminent threat to public safety, it may apply for a warrant to seize the dog. After the seizure, the dog will be impounded pending a court case or the pet owner fulfilling the requirements for a certificate of registration. This is a special certificate that requires the owner to prove that he or she is able to keep the dangerous dog under control at all times, including a proper pet enclosure, a muzzle while on walks and behavioral training.

If the court finds with clear and convincing evidence that the dog is dangerous and poses a threat to public safety and the owner does not comply with registration and handling requirements within 30 days, the dog will be ordered to be humanely destroyed. A dog will also be put down if the owner admits that the dog is dangerous and willingly transfers ownership of the dog (surrenders the animal) to an animal control authority.

What Is New Mexico’s Dog Bite Rule?

If you get bitten by a dog in New Mexico, consult with a Albuquerque dog bite attorney about your legal options. Unlike most states, New Mexico does not have a specific dog bite law. Instead, these cases are determined based on the question of pet owner negligence. An attorney can help you establish negligence to recover the compensation that you deserve after a dog attack. Call (505) 889-3463 for a free case consultation at The Fine Law Firm.