Katya Teresa Todesco, a 5-year-old Simi Valley girl died in a gruesome dog attack on Sept. 23 when she was playing in a neighbor’s yard and their pit bull attacked her. According to an article in the Ventura County Star, the dog attack occurred in a home on the 1000 block of Appleton Road. Katya was reportedly in a neighbor’s backyard when she physically bumped into the 35-pound pit bull mix.
Katya reportedly suffered severe bites to her face and neck and lost a lot of blood. The dog owner was trying to wrestle the dog off of the little girl, but the pit bull had latched on to Katya and refused to let her go. Officials said the pit bull would most likely be put down.
My heart goes out to the family of this little girl who suffered so much pain and trauma before her death. Please keep this family in your prayers.
Apparently, this is the second time a dog has killed a Ventura County resident, according to local officials. But on the day Katya was attacked, two other pit bull attacks occurred in Simi Valley. One pit bull attacked and killed a dog on Lysander Avenue while another pit bull bit a woman’s legs on Ballard Street. So far, officials are calling Katya’s death a “tragic accident.”
It was probably a coincidence that there were three pit bull attacks in Simi Valley on the same day. However, I don’t think it is a coincidence that most dog attacks in the United States involve pit bulls or rottweilers. Some cities have already enacted ordinances banning these breeds or imposing special conditions on dog owners who want to keep pit bulls or rottweilers. According to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control study, pit bulls and rottweilers account for more than 65 percent of fatal attacks in the United States.
The family of Katya Todesco would be well advised to consult with an expert Southern California dog bite attorney to find out about their legal rights, should they decide to pursue them. The owner of the pit bull in this case, could be held liable for the attack and the fatal injuries because of California’s “strict liability statute” pertaining to dog attacks. According to California Civil Code Section 3342 (a), a dog owner will be held liable if his or her dog attacks another person, especially if they were legally present on the dog owner’s property.