How to Report a Dog Bite in Colorado

Aggressive dog showing his teeth.

Dog bites can be extremely painful, emotionally traumatic, and in some cases, life-threatening. If you have been bitten, you should seek medical attention and report the attack to the authorities. Doing so can help to ensure that the dog does not hurt anyone else.

Here is some helpful information on how to report a dog bite in Colorado. If you decide to take legal action, the Denver dog bite lawyers of The Sawaya Law Firm are here to help.

Should I Report the Bite to Denver Animal Protection or the Police?

For dog bites that occur in the City of Denver, you should report the dog bite to Denver Animal Protection, which you can reach by calling 311 or (720) 913-1311. If you were bitten outside of Denver, you should report the bite to your county animal control department in the county where the bite occurred.

When you call to report the bite, you will be asked about the specifics of the dog attack such as a description of the animal, where the attack took place and who was responsible for the animal.

It is important that you share all the details as you remember them. It is a good idea to write down the details that you are providing to the person taking your report so that you have a record of what you said. It is also important to report the bite as soon as possible, while the details are still fresh in your mind. Colorado law requires that all animal bites be reported within 12 hours.

When you seek medical attention, your doctor will be required to report the bite to the state Health Department, so be sure to share the details with them as well. Having an official record of the bite through your report to the local animal control agency and your doctor’s report to the Health Department will provide helpful documentation of your dog bite injury if you need to take legal action later.

Taking Legal Action After You Report a Dog Bite

After you seek medical attention and report the bite, you may want to consider taking legal action if you were bitten by a dog in an unprovoked attack. Depending on the circumstances of the attack, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against the dog owner and seek compensation to cover your medical bills, reimburse you for lost wages, and provide payment for the pain, suffering, and emotional trauma you’ve endured.

Colorado law makes dog owners strictly liable for dog bites if the dog bite victim sustains serious bodily injury or death while the person was legally on the public or private property.

Unless you were trespassing or on the owner’s property with clearly marked ‘beware of dog’ signs, or unless you knowingly provoked the dog, you may hold the dog owner legally responsible for serious bodily injuries or the death of a loved one.

If you can prove the owner liable — that is, if they are unable to defend themselves by claiming they met one of the narrow exceptions to the Colorado dog bite statute — then you could seek financial compensation for a number of different costs, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages due to time off work during recovery from a dog attack
  • Any damage to your property as a result of the dog attack
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Other miscellaneous recovery-related expenses, such as transportation
  • Veterinary bills, if your dog was injured as well

The specific damages you could seek will depend on the severity of the attack and your losses. An experienced dog bite lawyer will evaluate your case and explain the types of compensation that you may be owed.

The Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Colorado

Dog bite claims are civil claims. Colorado law gives dog bite victims two years to file a civil lawsuit demanding compensation from the dog owner.  This means that from the date you reported the bite, you will have two years to file a lawsuit, after which point you will no longer be able to do so.

It is best to start working with a lawyer as soon as possible after a dog bite. It will be easier to gather evidence soon after the attack has happened. In fact, there is some evidence that is best gathered on the day of the attack, such as photos showing that there were no “beware of dog” or “no trespassing” signs on the owner’s property if that is where the attack took place. In any case, if a dog has bitten you, it is recommended that you contact an experienced dog bite lawyer to discuss your rights and legal options.

Contact a Colorado Dog Bite Lawyer Today

Were you bitten by a dog in Denver? If so, the Colorado dog bite attorneys of The Sawaya Law Firm are ready to help you. We have years of experience fighting on behalf of dog bite victims throughout Colorado. We know that you never anticipated being injured by a dog, and you may not know where to turn for help when it happens. We’re here to listen to you and advise you on all of your legal rights and options. When it comes time to pursue your claim, we will identify who was responsible, what insurance coverage may be available to you, and we will fight to make sure that you get the money you need to move on with your life.

For more information on how we can help you, schedule a free, 100% confidential consultation with a member of our team today. Simply fill out a contact form or call at (720) 709-2802. Don’t let a dog owner’s carelessness harm your future. Call us for help today.


Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.