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Man Killed in California Dog Attack


Jerry Yates, 69, was killed in a dog bite incident after he was mauled on his own property by two large pit bulls that belonged to a neighbor. According to an ABC News report, Yates’s body was found with large bite marks and torn flesh, the afternoon of August 22, 2010. Authorities say Yates’ wounds suggest that he died trying to fight off the dogs. The owner of the dogs, Sheryl Sellers, has been arrested on a single felony charge of allowing vicious animals at large. Officials say she held the dogs in an enclosure, which was clearly inadequate to restrain dogs of that size. Sellers surrendered the pit bulls, which have since been euthanized.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jerry Yates. Apparently, Yates was a Marine Corps veteran who served three combat tours in Vietnam. Tragic! Please keep this grieving family in your thoughts and prayers.

Fatal Dog Attack Statistics

According to Seattle-based nonprofit group,, in 2007, there were 33 fatal dog attacks in the United States. Additionally, there were 23 fatal attacks in 2008, 32 in 2009, and this year alone, we have already had 21 fatal dog attacks. In 2009, pit bulls made up only 5 percent of the U.S. dog population, but they accounted for 44 percent of fatal dog attacks for that year. Nearly 4.5 million people sustain personal injuries as a result of dog attacks in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

California Dog Bite Law and Liability Issues

California 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.”

A dog owner can be held financially liable for the damage his or her dog does. In this particular case, the dog owner faces a felony criminal charge for failing to keep the dogs restrained. In such cases where negligence is apparent, families of deceased victims can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation to cover funeral expenses, lost future income, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages. An experienced California personal injury lawyer will be able to better advise injured dog bite victims or their families about their legal rights and options.

Do you believe there should be a ban on owning pit bulls?

The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.

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