Dog Bites


We Love Our Dogs
And We Are Legally Responsible For Their Actions

In many homes, the family dog is an integral part of the family unit. Studies have shown that dogs can help reduce stress, control blood pressure, and reduce symptoms of depression. A dog can be a constant playmate for a child, as well as bring companionship and comfort to the elderly. A dog can be an unending source of unconditional love. However, that same furry, loyal, loving companion has the capability of causing serious dog bite injuries to children and adults.

Dog Running At Large (Off A Leash)

The Commonwealth of Virginia has not enacted a state wide leash law, but it does give power to individual cities, counties and towns through local ordinances to enact laws governing the control of dogs. For example, by local ordinances, the City of Falls Church and the County of Fairfax have enacted a “leash law”. Leash laws help protect people against dog bites from an attacking animal.

The Fairfax County Leash Law is an example. It makes it illegal for dogs to run loose on public property or private property of others. Dogs must be restrained by a dependable leash and controlled by a responsible person when off of the property of the owner except while in an approved off-leash or dog exercise area.

A dog running at large (off of the leash) may attack or bite a child causing injuries. Also, a dog running at large may chase or knock over a bicyclist, rollerblader or jogger and cause serious personal injuries without actually biting that person. In either circumstance, negligent dog owners are held responsible for injuries caused by their dog.

Injuries Caused By Dog Attacks

Depending upon the dog’s height, weight, and musculature, dog bites may result in one or more of the following injuries:

  • Abrasions
  • Lacerations
  • Punctures wounds
  • Tissue loss and avulsion
  • Crush injuries
  • Fractured bones
  • Sprain/strain injuries
  • Permanent scarring
  • Infections such as rabies, cellulitis, C canimorsus infections

Victims of dog bite injuries to the face, especially children, should be examined for nerve damage. The nose, mouth and parotid region (jaw and near the ear) are the primary target areas.

Psychological Injuries Caused By Dog Attacks

Being attacked by a dog can cause not only physical injury, but psychological injury as well. A person can develop a fear of dogs and a feeling of vulnerability to another dog attack. This fear will often cause the victim to be afraid of doing the things they used to do before the attack, i.e., jogging before they go to work, taking their evening walk, or riding a bicycle on a bike path. This can interfere with friendships and the quality of life. The psychological effects on a child are varied and can include bedwetting, a return to thumb-sucking, acts of aggression toward siblings and friends, depression and nightmares. It is often beneficial to receive help from a clinical psychologist who specializes in post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

Animal Attack To Children

Of all the cases we have handled, dog bites to children are the most devastating. Dog attacks to children can leave a child with lifelong permanent injuries. The scars from the dog bite never go away.

As a dad and a child safety advocate, Gerald Schwartz takes a special interest in advocating for the rights of children injured in vicious dog attacks.


Virginia Dog Bite Animal Attack Lawyer Gerald Schwartz, and his personal injury law firm, have handled over 100 dog bite injury cases, including cases in Fairfax and Manassas, Virginia.

To learn your rights when you or a child have been injured by a dog bite or animal attack call Gerald Schwartz for a free consultation at 1-800-423-0055.