A 4-year-old boy suffered severe facial injuries in a Chester, California dog attack, after a neighbor’s dog bit him, the Chester Editor reports. Avery Stout was reportedly playing with his older brothers in the neighborhood the afternoon of Aug. 12 when the attack occurred. Avery’s father Dan Stout said he saw a huge cut on his son’s face and his lower lip looked “like it was hanging off, like it was chewed off and just hanging there.”
It took 60 stitches to close up that large cut, which began in the center of Avery’s nose, continued through his lips and ended with a small cut on his chin. The little boy is now facing plastic surgery. Not only that, because Avery’s lower lip had no blood circulation for a long period of time, surgeons may have to remove it.
Chester’s dad is unhappy with the county for not promptly sending out an animal control officer to take custody of the dangerous dog and with the dog owner for letting his dog roam the neighborhood without a leash. I absolutely support the father’s assertion that the county put the entire neighborhood in danger by not catching the dog in a timely manor. Stout compares living with the fear of a dog attack to living in a neighborhood where drive-by shootings occur.
He’s right. More than 4 million people are attacked by dogs in the United States. Thousands of people, mostly child victims of dog attacks, die as a result of these attacks. I’m relieved that Avery did not suffer more serious injuries and that he was able to get away before things got worse.
There is no question that the neighbor in this case should be held responsible for the dog attack and financially liable to Avery and his family for the injuries, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused. Plumas County officials reaction time to this incident was inadequate, to say the least.
A number of city and county agencies are now tightening their lax dangerous or vicious dog laws. These new vicious dog laws require owners to step up and take responsibility for their pets. Owners whose dogs are deemed “vicious” or “dangerous” because of prior attacks must be required to keep their animals restrained or indoors.
Avery’s parents would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California dog bite attorney to find out how they can protect their child’s legal rights. They will also be entitled to compensation for the incident, injuries suffered by their son and the emotional trauma suffered by the entire family. Plastic surgery is costly and whatever compensation the family receives could help pay Avery’s medical bills and hopefully secure his future.