Visitor Question

Mastiff Attacks 10 Year Old Boy…

Submitted By: Chris (Rehoboth, MA)

My 10 year old son was attacked by a mastiff. It was an unprovoked attack that caused permanent damage to the left side of his lips, he will require future surgeries.

The ACO (Animal Control Officer) of the Town has not been very helpful.

The dog’s owners have removed the dog and “given” the dog to a family in another town.

Neither the dog’s owners or the ACO will release the address to us.

What are the laws in MA as far as the victims being informed on their attackers whereabouts? I cannot find any information on this subject. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Chris,

We couldn’t find any specific Massachusetts statutes ordering the release of a dog’s name, even in case of attacks.

There is though another means to acquire the information. The State of Massachusetts has what are called “Rules of Discovery”. That means you have a right to know the dog’s whereabouts and other information related to the attack.

Although there are some exceptions, the way to do this is to file a lawsuit. You don’t have to hire an attorney. You can file a Small Claims lawsuit in the county in which you reside.

Once you file the suit you can file what is called a “Request for Production”. It’s a relatively straightforward legal form. We added one you can use at the bottom of this answer. Don’t worry about the form being perfect. Do the best you can with it.

On the form you can ask all the questions you would like related to the attack. We’ve put 3 you might like to use.

Once you have the form completed, file the original with the other papers in your small claims case. Then mail a copy, Certified Return Receipt Requested, to the owners. They have 30 days from the time they receive it to answer the questions and send it back to you.

If they refuse to answer you can ask the judge in your case to order them to do so. If they still refuse the judge can fine them.

Here’s the example:


Chris _______

123 Main Street

Rehoboth, MA

SMALL CLAIMS COURT OF ___________________

Chris ____________



(Names of Dog Owners)


Case No.: (Put In Your Case Number)


Plaintiff Chris _______ requests Defendant (Name of Dog Owners) produce the following information within 30 days of receipt of this Request:

1.Please produce all veterinary records for the Mastiff dog you own in connection with this case.

2.Please produce the present residence location of the same Mastiff in connection with this case.

3.Please produce any and all records of previous attacks by the same Mastiff from the time of its birth to the present day.

Dated this __ day of May, 2012.

Chris ____________ 123 Main Street Rehoboth, MA. Tel: ____________


The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: May 4, 2012

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