Samantha Williams, 25, was severely injured in a dog attack in Stockton after she was mauled by two pit bulls. According to a news report in The Record, the dog bite incident occurred in a home in the 1400 block of East Walnut Street. Williams was staying in the room of the house with her close friend, Anthony Morel, 36. At the time of the attack, Morel, who is not the dogs’ owner, was at a nearby store. When he came back, he heard Williams screaming out his name. When she came outside the room, he saw that she was bitten by dogs and was bleeding profusely.
Officers who responded found 16 dogs living in the home, which belongs to Morel’s friend. Williams, who was hospitalized after the attack, had to get 100 stitches to her lower left leg where one of the dogs had torn out a large chunk of flesh. She was also bitten on the left thigh, left arm and around her left eye. She is still unable to stand up or walk. Officials have deemed it an “unprovoked bite.” The dogs face destruction and the owner is also likely to face charges.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of all fatal dog bite incidents in the United States involve two breeds of dogs – pit bulls and rottweilers. CDC also reports that dogs bite approximately 4.5 million Americans every year. About one in five dog bites require medical attention. In the year 2006, more than 31,000 people suffered serious injuries that required reconstructive surgery following a dog attack.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the dog owner had a number of dogs – most of them Chihuahuas – in his house, which is a violation of city code. The city of Stockton allows only three dogs per house. Dog owners have responsibilities under California law. When a dog bites a person, the dog owner, in addition to facing criminal charges or citations, can also be held financially responsible for the victim’s injuries. This is true regardless of whether the attack happened on public or private property or even if the dog had not bitten anyone in the past.
Injured victims can seek compensation from the dog owners for all medical expenses, lost wages, permanent injuries, disfigurement, cost of cosmetic surgery, psychological counseling, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Dog bite victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who will ensure that the negligent parties are held accountable and that victims are fully compensated for their significant losses.