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Man and Service Dog Attacked by Dogs in West Hollywood

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Billy Lam and his 12-year-old sheepdog, Crouton, were attacked as they were walking on Fuller Street in West Hollywood. CBS Los Angeles reports that the dog attack occurred over the weekend when Lam was walking with his service dog. They were attacked by two pit bulls. Lam said the dogs clamped down on the sheepdog and that he physically punched a dog more than 15 times after which the dog finally let go. Lam said his service dog has four puncture wounds and that he was also bitten several times. The pit bulls were not on a leash and their owner fled the scene, Lam told CBS News. Lam said the dog provides him comfort as he suffers from panic attacks. The West Hollywood sheriff’s station is investigating the incident.

Pit Bull Attacks

Dogsbite.org reports that between the years 2005 and 2011, pit bulls killed 128 people in the United States. According to statistics gathered by the dog bite victims’ advocacy group, between the years 2006 and 2008, pit bulls accounted for 52 fatalities. During those same years, pit bulls accounted for 59 percent of all fatal dog attacks. Nearly 5 million people in the United States are injured each year as a result of dog attacks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dog Bite Law and Liability Issues

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.” What this means is dog owners can be held financially liable for injuries and damages their pets cause. In this case, the victim told officials that the dogs were not on a leash and that pit bulls’ owner fled the scene.

In such cases the negligent dog owner can be held liable for the victim’s injuries. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, cosmetic surgery, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Dog bite victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.

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