A 5-year-old boy was seriously injured in an Orange County dog attack involving a mixed Labrador retriever. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the dog bite incident occurred in the 1800 block of West Elm Avenue in Anaheim the afternoon of July 9, 2012. Officials say the boy was at a neighbor’s house when the dog attacked him. He suffered serious facial injuries and was taken to a hospital for treatment, but he is expected to recover. The neighbor, who was also the dog’s owner, turned the dog over to animal control and asked that the animal be put down.
My thoughts and prayers are with the young dog bite victim. I wish him the very best for a quick and complete recovery.
Child-Related Dog Attacks
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 800,000 people seek medical attention for dog bite injuries each year. The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9 years, and that rate decreases as children age. The CDC also reports that children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bite injuries. Also, children, because of their height, are more likely to suffer facial injuries in dog attacks.
Dog Bite Liability
Based on this news report, it appears that the child was bitten by a neighbor’s dog. Under California law, dog owners can be held financially responsible for injuries caused by their pets. 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.”
The family of a child injured in a dog attack would be well advised to discuss their legal options with an experienced Orange County personal injury attorney. Many dog bite injuries require surgical procedures such as cosmetic procedures that are not commonly covered by medical insurance policies. Children are also emotionally and psychologically traumatized because of their disfigurement or due to the vicious nature of the attack. Injured victims in such cases can seek compensation to cover medical expenses, surgeries, cost of psychological counseling, pain and suffering and emotional distress.