Nephi Selu, 6, was killed in a dog attack after a relative's pit bull mauled him. According to a news report in The San Francisco Chronicle, the incident occurred the morning of June 17, 2013 at a grandparent's home on Elizabeth Way in Union City. Family members said the boy was "actively playing" with the dog and may have attempted to climb onto the animal's back. The dog then attacked the boy and bit him on top of his head.
Nephi died at the hospital shortly after the attack. Police have determined that the dog was properly licensed and had its required anti-rabies inoculation. The dog's owner said it had never bitten anyone in the past. Officials said the boy was living with his grandparents and was attending school in Union City. The family reportedly keeps two pit bull mixes in the backyard.
Fatal Dog Attacks in the Bay Area
This is apparently not the first dog attack in the Bay Area involving pit bulls attacking their own family members. In 2011, a pit bull in Pacifica mauled its 32-year-old owner, Darla Napora, to death. In 2010, three pit bulls killed 2-year-old Jacob Bisbee at a relative's Concord home. Also, in 2005, two pit bulls fatally mauled 12-year-old Nicholas Faibish at his San Francisco home.
Keeping Children Safe from Dogs
If you have a dog at home, children are likely to spend more time with them during the summer months. Children who visit your home may also play with your dog. If your dog bites anyone, California law says that you are financially liable for the victim's injuries. There are many steps dog owners and parents can take to make sure that children are safe.
• Teach your children not to roughhouse with dogs. Tell them they are not to hug or kiss a dog on the face. These types of actions are common causes of bites to the face. Instead, teach children to scratch the dog on the chest or the side of the neck.
• Children should be taught to stand still like a tree if approached by a strange dog. This also works any time a family dog becomes aggressive.
• Teach children never to tease a dog or bother a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for its puppies.
• Parents should never assume that their dogs are good with kids. Always supervise your children when they are playing with the dogs - even if your dog has never bitten anyone in the past.
• Take your dog to obedience classes and gradually teach your dog to socialize with people.
If your child has been injured in a dog attack, please contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases and helped victims and their families financially pursue negligent dog owners.