Juan Fernandez, 59, was killed in a dog attack in Modesto after a pack of pit bulls attacked him and his elderly mother, Maria.
According to a CBS news report, the dog attack occurred at his home on October 14, 2014.
Deputies said when they arrived, four dogs belonging to a neighbor were on top of the victim and had attacked him to the point that he was unresponsive and unconscious.
shot and killed two of the pit bulls. The other two ran off to an adjacent yard but were later shot to death when they charged deputies who were trying to capture them. Maria Fernandez also suffered bite wounds.
Officials said the dogs were owned by the victims’ neighbors and got into their yard through a common fence. The owners have not been arrested, but an investigation into the attack is ongoing.
In order to charge the dog owners criminally, authorities will have to prove that they were negligent. Investigators are also looking into whether there were any prior incidents involving the dogs.
We offer our deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Juan Fernandez for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
According to Dogbites.org, 32 dog bite-related fatalities occurred in the United States in 2013. Pit bulls contributed to 78 percent of these deaths while making up only about 6 percent of the U.S. dog population.
Together, pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 81 percent of the total recorded deaths in 2013. These two breeds also accounted for 74 percent of all fatal dog attacks during the nine-year period between 2005 and 2013.
Liability Issues in Dog Attacks
Based on this news report, it appears that the neighbor’s dog escaped into the victims’ yard and attacked them. California has a “strict liability statute” when it comes to dog attacks. This means dog owners can be held financially responsible for their pets’ actions in most circumstances.
Injured victims can seek monetary compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, cost of reconstructive surgery, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled dog bite cases.