Wanda Michelle Lawver, 34, of Oroville was mauled by two pit bulls during a Sept. 22 dog attack in the yard of an acquaintance who had invited her over, the Oroville Mercury-Register reports. Lawver says the two pit bulls lunged at her as soon as she entered the yard – just after being told that the dogs were “harmless.” The dogs followed Lawver as she ran out through the gate, pulled her down and mauled her on the sidewalk in front of the house. The dogs attacked and bit Lawver for several minutes before they were called off.
My heart goes out to this dog attack victim. I can only imagine the kind of physical and emotional trauma Wanda Lawver must have undergone. Oroville Animal Control officials are investigating the case and are in the process of determining whether any criminal charges should be filed in this case.
The news report says the pit bulls were fighting right before Lawver stepped into the yard. Did the dogs have a history of prior aggression or attacks? Had they attacked smaller animals in the neighborhood or terrorized neighbors? Most importantly, why was Wanda Michelle Lawver left on the sidewalk with those two pit bulls mauling her? What was the dog owner doing at the time of the attack? Why didn’t he even attempt to help her or call for help?
I hope city and county officials do file criminal charges against this dog owner who seems to have acted negligently in this case. I have no doubt that Wanda Lawver is entitled to compensation to pay for medical bills, plastic surgery, emotional distress, pain and suffering and loss of wages, if applicable.
California is one of the states that has a “strict liability statute” in dog bite cases, which means this Oroville dog owner will be civilly liable to Lawver under California Civil Code Section 3342 (a), which provides as follows:
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. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.
Wanda Michelle Lawver would be well-advised to retain the services of a top California dog attack attorney who will fight for her rights and make sure that the person who caused her these injuries will be brought to justice.