At least one child was injured in a San Bernardino dog attack after a pit bull attacked two children on a neighborhood street. According to an NBC news report, the dog bite incident occurred the afternoon of October 7, 2013 in the 2400 block of North Genevieve Street. The pit bull that escaped from its owner's yard bit the child's thigh when a neighbor shot and killed the dog. Animal control officers were called to the scene to investigate the dog attack.
It is not clear if anyone will face criminal charges in connection with this incident. The nature and extent of the child's injuries is not known. This attack comes at the heels of a fatal pit bull mauling of a 2-year-old boy in Colton last month. Riverside County is also considering an ordinance that would require pit bull owners to spay or neuter their dogs in order to control the number of pit bulls in the county. Also, a 91-year-old woman died in February after being severely mauled by pit bulls. In August, woman was attacked by two pit bulls when she was walking her own dog.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, about half of whom are children. Approximately one in five dog bites require medical attention. In the year 2012, over 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery to fix dog bite injuries and scars. Children often suffer serious injuries and disfigurement in dog attacks.
Laws and Liability Issues
Under California's strict liability statute, dog owners can be held financially liable for injuries and damages their pets cause. California's Civil Code Section 3342 states: "The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness."
In such cases, injured dog bite victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, hospitalization costs, cosmetic surgery expenses, cost of psychological counseling, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer who will ensure that the negligent dog owners are held liable.