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Dog Attack Leads to Guilty Plea from Dog Owner


If dog owners won’t take responsibility for their animals, they should face criminal charges and pay for the suffering they’ve caused innocent victims who get bitten and suffer serious physical and emotional trauma. It is comforting to know that more and more district attorneys are filing criminal charges against negligent dog owners.

Take this case in Petaluma where a man was arrested and charged with four felony counts of allowing mischievous animals to be at large causing bodily injury. According to an article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 50-year-old Kieran Burns’ two off-leash, 90-pound Rottweilers attacked a father and his son severely injuring both.

The father Roberto Kampfner Sr. told the newspaper that the dogs attacked him and his son, Roberto, as they were walking home from the local high school track on April 29. Kampfner Sr. tried to hold his son aloft to protect him from the vicious dogs, but the animals tried to snatch the boy from his arms, the distraught father said. The boy was bitten at least 20 times and some of his wounds penetrated all the way to his bone, the newspaper reported. This week Burns took a plea bargain, pleading guilty to two felony counts. The two other charges will be dismissed and officials say there’s a good chance he will avoid serious prison time and simply get probation.

That’s too bad as far as I am concerned. I would like to see Burns sentenced to a year. Then I’d hope that there would be a huge media buss about it so people would see someone going to jail for acting irresponsibly with their dogs.

This dog attack story is an example of why irresponsible dog owners deserves to be criminally charged and yes, do jail time. Burns’ dogs have a track record of violent behavior. Burns was under orders to keep his Rottweilers confined after an attack in February 2005. Then in August that same year, Burns was fined after the dogs bit a neighbor’s child, the newspaper reports.

Apparently those consequences were not enough to motivate Burns to control his dogs. So this time the judicial system needs to get Burn’s attention with some consequences as serious as the injuries suffered by the Kampfners. If the boy had been mauled to death, Burns would’ve faced manslaughter charges and some serious prison time.

Kampfner Sr. is the hero of this story. Without his incredible sacrifice of putting himself in harm’s way to save his son, Burns may be facing manslaughter charges. Good job Roberto Kampfner Sr., good job!

I hope the Kampfners have retained a skilled dog bite attorney to protect their interests. The Kampfners probably have extensive medical bills and will need to cover the costs of plastic surgery for Jr. The bill for the scar revisions will probably be in the tens of thousands of dollars if multiple surgeries are necessary. Who knows if psychological counseling is needed?

If the dogs’ owner owns a home, his/her homeowners’ insurance policy will pay whatever damages the Kampfners can prove, up to the limit of the policy. Some homeowners’ insurance policies exclude some breeds of dogs. When there is breed exclusion, Rottweilers are always on the list of excluded dogs. What does that tell you?

When someone is bitten by a dog in California, the dog’s owner is legally responsible for the damages their dog causes. There are some exceptions but not many and they are the common sense ones. The law does not protect someone attacking your child, breaking into your home or threatening your dog.

As for Rottweilers, they are a dangerous breed of dog – almost as dangerous as pit bulls. If you look up Rottweilers on the Web, you’ll see a lot of descriptions of Rottweilers being “good-natured,” “not nervous, aggressive or vicious.” Really? You want to try telling that to Roberto Jr. and Sr.?

Got questions about a dog attack? Call or email me.

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