A 10-year-old girl, who was bitten by a dog while waiting for her school bus, had to undergo surgery for bite marks on her face. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the incident occurred the morning of February 19, 2014 at the corner of 7th Street and West Drive in Desert Hot Springs. The girl was bitten twice by a 2-year-old Huskie mix named Ollie as she petted him. The girl and her mother were familiar with the dog. As she petted the dog while waiting for her bus, the dog turned and bit her. The girl got stitches after the incident. It is not clear who owns the dog.
Dog Bites and Children
According to the American Humane Society, 50 percent of dog attacks in the United States involve children under 12. Also, 82 percent of dog bites treated in emergency rooms nationwide involve children under 15. Children under 10 were injured in 70 percent of fatal dog attacks. Bite rates are also dramatically higher in the 5 to 9 age group. The Humane Society also reports that unsupervised newborns are 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog. Boys under 15 are bitten more often than girls of the same age and 65 percent of dog bites among children occur to the head and neck.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, this dog attack occurred at a public place – at a bus stop. Although the girl was familiar with the dog, officials say, it turned around and mauled her. In such cases, California law states that the dog owner is financially responsible to victims for injuries and damages caused. Injured victims can seek compensation to cover damages including medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, surgeries, pain and suffering and emotional distress. A person injured in this manner should contact a Riverside personal injury lawyer familiar with dog bite cases.
There are several things parents can teach their children to protect them from such vicious dog attacks:
• Do not approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, if it is a familiar or known dog.
• Don’t play with a dog that is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.
• Do not reach over a fence to pet a dog.
• Don’t chase or run and scream in the presence of a dog.
• Always ask the owner’s permission before petting the dog.
• Immediately inform an adult if you have been bitten.