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Joey81

Dog Bite Reporting

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I am trying to find the statute addressing the reporting of dog bites by medical providers in Vermont. My daughter was bitten by her therapist's dog during a session with her mother. She claims this dog is a "therapy dog", but when I asked for records following the bite the therapist did not provide the records and instead made up an excuse to prevent me from ever attending a therapy session at her office again. This is in violation of the current court order for equal access to medical providers. The therapist took our child(with her mother) to her friend's medical center next door, who then referred then to the larger medical facility 40 minutes away and out of state. Local police confirmed that the medical center in question usually does report dog bites within a day, but did not report this one, nor did the therapist or the out-of-state hospital.

 

I'm now trying to figure out what the legal requirement is for reporting this bite, and how to cite the law in a filing to the court. I've included what I found below, but I'm not sure how to cite it and I don't see where the statute definitively says reporting is mandatory, although, the HealthVermont.Gov says "Health care providers and laboratories are required by law to notify the Health Department regarding patients with certain suspected or confirmed reportable diseases" and provides a link to Chapter 4 – Health Surveillance and Infectious Disease Subchapter 1 at https://www.healthvermont.gov/sites/default/files/documents/pdf/hs_id_reportable_communicable_diseases_rule.pdf

 

Under that section it says 

8.1.2 Minors and Adults; No Attending Physician 8.1.2.1 Minors: If no physician is in attendance and the person bitten is under 18 years of age, the parent or guardian shall make such report within 24 hours of actual or constructive notice to the local town health officer

and

8.2.2.1 The local health officer shall cause an apparently healthy dog, cat or ferret, regardless of vaccinations status, that bites a person to be confined and observed for 10 days.

 

Health Care Provider as defined in a separate statute 18 V.S.A. § 9432

(9) "Health care provider" means a person, partnership, corporation, facility, or institution, licensed or certified or authorized by law to provide professional health care service in this State to an individual during that individual's medical care, treatment, or confinement.

 

Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

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You're overthinking this. It doesn't make a bit of difference whether there is a reporting requirement or not.

 

Your daughter was bitten by a dog. You report it to the local animal control office.

 

Then you sue the dog owner for the personal injury of your daughter if it was relatively serious with medical bills incurred.

 

If your divorce decree mandates that you be allowed to attend therapy sessions then it's your ex wife that you have to take back to family court to enforce that. That has nothing to do with the dog bite or any reporting requirements.

 

Like I said, you are overthinking this and you are not going to get anywhere with this quixotic quest for reporting requirements.

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It was a pretty serious bite to her face. Months later she still has a scar from the canine. My ex-wife has sole legal rights, and as I understand it, that means I have no rights to bring suit against the therapist. I was trying to get records because if her dog was not actually trained/certified as a therapy dog, then it is pretty concerning that she represented her dog as such. In trying to get those records and instead getting excluded from therapy I checked in with the local police who had no record of the incident. I'm not looking to sue over the incident unless it turns out that the dog has a history of bites that were not disclosed or if her dog was not actually a therapy dog and she misrepresented it. 

 

I'm concerned that when we go back to court the therapist is going to throw me under the bus and try to claim there is some legitimate reason to exclude me from therapy, and I have no idea what the basis of that could even be. If her effort to avoid scrutiny on the dog bite goes beyond excluding me from therapy(which is hard to prove is related) and also includes violating the law by not reporting the incident, then it seems relevant. 

 

I just thought it was worth asking anyways. Thanks for the input. 

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I strongly suggest that you talk to a personal injury attorney who handles dog bite law. You may have more rights than you think and a pre-emptive strike against the therapist by your lawyer may make her think twice about throwing you under the bus.

 

And report the incident to animal control. There is no excuse for what happened and the therapist needs to take some heat from it.

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