Who let the Dogs Out? What to do When your Dog Bites a Person

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Republic Act No. 9482, otherwise known as the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007

We all love our furry friends. After all, a dog is a man’s best friend.  However, there are times when our dogs misbehave or worse, threaten other people.  A dog bite is a serious matter which we, as dog owners, are ultimately liable.  What then are our liabilities and obligations under the law when our dog bites someone?

Article 2183 of the Philippine Civil Code states:

“The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use of the same is responsible for the damage which it may cause, although it may escape or be lost. This responsibility shall cease only in case the damage should come from force majeure or from the fault of the person who has suffered damage.”

            As can be seen above, a possessor of an animal is liable for the injuries and damages caused by his pet.  Even if one is not the owner but the actual possessor of the dog, he can still be held liable.  As enunciated by the Supreme Court in Vestil vs. Intermediate Appellate Court (G.R. No. 74431, 06 November 1989), the liability here is not based on negligence or lack of vigilance of the possessor of the animal.  Rather, it is based on natural equity and on the principle of social interest that he who possesses animals for his utility, pleasure or service must answer for the damage which such animal may cause. 

Under Republic Act No. 9482, otherwise known as the Anti-Rabies Act of 2007, the pet owner has the following responsibilities when his pet dog bites another:

  1.  Within twenty-four (24) hours, report immediately any Dog biting incident to the Concerned Officials (barangay officials, health workers, police officers or government veterinarians) for investigation or for any appropriate action and place such Dog under observation by a government or private veterinarian.
  2. Assist the Dog bite victim immediately and shoulder the medical expenses incurred and other incidental expenses relative to the victim’s injuries

Under the said law, Pet Owners who refuse to have their Dog put under observation after said Dog has Bitten an individual shall be meted a fine of Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00). In addition, Pet Owners who refuse to have their Dog put under observation and do not shoulder the medical expenses of the person Bitten by their Dog shall be meted a fine of Twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000.00). These fines are in addition to actual damages sustained by the victim as a result of the dog bite.            Let’s be responsible pet owners! Let’s have our dogs vaccinated against rabies and maintain them on a leash when outdoors.

About Nicolas and de Vega Law Offices

Nicolas and de Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines.  You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines.  You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected] . Visit our website www.ndvlaw.com .