A 2-year-old boy suffered major facial injuries in a dog bite incident after a pit bull attacked him. According to a news report in The Ventura County Star, the dog attack occurred the afternoon of March 25, 2012 at a home in the 1200 block of South J Street in Oxnard. Police say the boy was visiting a friend’s house and had food in his hand when the incident occurred. The owner let the dog out of the house and it ran away, officials said. The dog’s owner has been cited for several animal control violations. The boy was transported to an area hospital with significant injuries to his face.
My heart goes out to the injured victim of this brutal dog attack. A police captain on the scene stated that the dog bite injuries are the worst he had ever seen. I’m relieved to hear that the boy’s injuries are not life threatening. I pray for his speedy and complete recovery.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to Dogsbite.org, a web site for dog attack victims nationwide, of the 88 fatal dog attacks in the United States in a three-year period between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008, 59 percent or 52 incidents involved pit bulls. This dog bite fatality finding is generally consistent with an earlier report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which stated that pit bulls and Rottweilers together account for 60 percent of fatal dog attacks, followed by German shepherds.
Strict Liability Statute
Based on this news report, it appears that the child was bitten at a friend’s house. Under California’s strict liability statute, dog owners are responsible for injuries and damages that are caused by their pets regardless of the dog’s prior history of violence. 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.”
Compensation for Dog Bite Victims
The dog owner in this case can be held liable for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, hospitalization costs, plastic surgery expenses, disfigurement, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Dog attacks are often covered under the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. Injured victims or their families in such cases would be well advised to contact an experienced Ventura personal injury lawyer, who will ensure that the negligent dog owners are held accountable.