RPD releases information on victim compensation, court-ordered restitution process stemming from animal bites

(Riverton, WY) – The following release was posted on the Riverton Police Department’s (RDP) Facebook page in regards to the process on Victim’s Compensation and Court ordered restitution for animal bites, after RPD has seen a noticeable animal bite increase.

This release is for the informational process on Victim’s Compensation and Court ordered restitution in regard to animal bites.

The Riverton Police Department has seen an increase in dog bite calls for service since the beginning of 2022 in the City of Riverton, WY.

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Issued citations have doubled in the same period, however victims of Dog Bites are unaware of the process in regards to victim services.

It should be noted that there is no known, increased risk to the community of Rabies through animal bites.

The CDC reports that the medical treatment costs associated with rabies, can average between $1,600.00 and $3,600.00.

Though that average does not include the cost for wound care or hospital admission and can vary in each County or State where the person receives treatment.

As the Riverton Police Department is committed to serving the community through effective and efficient police services, Riverton residents need to understand the process associated with a citation being issued for vicious animal and how that affects all parties involved.

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RPD Officers have experienced hesitancy among some Riverton residents as they believe that filing charges of “vicious animal” would result in an animal being euthanized.

That is why citizens need to understand the steps that are taken when a citation for vicious animal has been served.

Upon notice that a person was bitten by an animal, and after the animal owner has been served a citation, an observation quarantine period of 10 days begins for that animal, either at home or at the veterinarian’s office.

During these 10 days, at the choice of the victim and their medical provider, a victim could start treatment for rabies as a preventative measure.

These treatments can be very expensive, especially when combined with the wound care provided by an emergency room or physician.

With potential medical bills being so costly, the community must understand the difference between Victim’s Compensation and Restitution.

As Restitution is an action that could be applied in court after the sentencing has occurred, this could be from 1 to 6 months from the date of the incident, and it could be paid to the victim in installments.

Victim’s compensation however, which is a State fund that assists victims in paying medical bills, is an option that helps victims financially and almost immediately.

Victim’s Compensation cannot be applied without a person being deemed a “victim” by the state, and this only happens if a crime has occurred.

Without a citation being served, Victim’s compensation will not be an option to the victim.

Officer discretion remains with a Police Officer, and it is ultimately what decides if a citation is served.

However an Officer that does not have cooperation from the victim will be much less likely to serve a citation for vicious animal.

RPD is currently developing a pamphlet that will be given out to victims of animal bites, so that they can be advised of their options.

It is important to the Riverton Police Department that residents of Riverton are aware of the potential outcomes of a case involving a vicious animal.

We want to remind pet owners that a license is required for Cats and Dogs in the City of Riverton.

This includes a rabies shot which is 10 to 15 dollars. In the event of a vicious animal citation, the price of an observation quarantine can be upwards of $400.00 or more so it is much less expensive to have your pet licensed in the City of Riverton.

For more information on the process of vicious animals or licensing your pet, please feel free to contact Animal Control Officer Shannon Sanderson at 307-856-4891 Ext. 7643.

For more information on Victim Compensation, you can contact Luanne Luther or Cindy Gustin in the Victims Witness Department at 307-856-9131.

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