Leesa Lyon was injured in a dog bite incident after three loose pit bulls attacked her and her teen daughter as they were walking back to their apartment. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the dog attack occurred the night of May 14, 2012 in the 3900 block of Pierce Street. Officials say Lyon and her daughter were returning home from a high school awards ceremony. They got out of their car and were walking to their apartment when the three pit bulls charged at them. Witnesses who saw the attack called 911.
Lyon, who put herself between her daughter and the dogs, was bitten in the thighs and buttocks. The dogs have since been captured and quarantined. The dogs, all female, have not been spayed or vaccinated. They are also unlicensed, officials say. The dogs earlier attacked a man who was taking out the trash. The man apparently had to take cover in the dumpster. Officials have identified the dog’s owner as Trevor Casserly, a resident at the apartment complex where the attack occurred. It is not clear if Casserly will face criminal charges in connection with this dog attack.
My heart goes out to Leesa Lyon and her daughter who had to endure this traumatic dog attack. I truly hope her injuries are not serious and wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep Lyon and her daughter in your thoughts and prayers.
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.
California Dog Bite Law
Based on the news article, it appears that the pit bulls were running loose in the neighborhood and terrorizing members of the community even before this incident occurred. I’m relieved to note that the dog’s owner has been tracked down and trust he will be held criminally and civilly liable for this brutal dog bite incident.
California’s strict liability statute states that dog owners can be held financially liable for injuries and damages caused by their pets. 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 Injured Victims
In this particular case, Lyon can seek compensation from the dog owner for damages including medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization, treatment, cosmetic surgery, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In addition, the landlord may also be held civilly liable if it can be proven that he or she knew about the dangerous dogs on the property, in this case the apartment complex. Did the landlord know that Casserly kept these pit bulls illegally in the apartment? Dog bite victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer who will analyze all aspects of the case and ensure that victims receive fair compensation.