Two dog owners are facing seven felony counts of owning vicious animals that caused great bodily injury in connection with a terrible dog bite incident that critically injured 5-year-old Destiny Colon and also, injured her siblings. According to a news report in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Jose Antonio Lopez Gonzalez, 49, and Judith Mendez Lopez, 55, were charged with the felonies this week. The dog attack occurred February 1, 2010, when Destiny’s mother was walking with her children to a neighborhood park. Five pit bull mixes escaped from their yard and attacked the family on Tokay Avenue near Arrow Highway.
While one of the dogs was shot and killed by a police officer during the attack, the others have been euthanized. Police have been investigating this incident for more than a month. During their investigation, they checked into the animals’ prior interactions with other neighbors. As with most dog bite cases, officials also had to compare marks and bites in order to prove that the dogs that were captured were the animals involved in the attack.
Horrific Dog Attack
This was one of the most horrible Southern California dog attacks in recent times. This sort of a dog attack, happening without any warning or provocation, and involving children who are viciously mauled is, truly, any parent’s nightmare. In this particular case, Destiny suffered serious personal injuries including broken ribs, punctured lung and bite wounds. She needed a ventilator to help her breathe. She has already undergone several surgeries since the attack and has been heavily sedated for pain. She will most likely not only bear the physical pain and suffering, but also the mental and psychological anguish caused by disfigurement. Hopefully her scars can be repaired with plastic surgery.
There is no question that these dog owners should be held criminally and civilly liable for their negligence. It is the responsibility of dog owners to keep their animals restrained and safe. In this case, it is not clear whether these dogs had a history of vicious behavior in the neighborhood. Based on the seriousness of the criminal charges, it appears that the animals may have previously menaced the neighbors.
Holding Wrongdoers Accountable
These dog owners can be held financially responsible for the injuries caused to the Colon children. Dog bite victims can seek compensation to cover medical expenses, cost of hospitalization, cosmetic surgery and even cost of psychological therapy. In most cases a dog owners’ home insurance will cover injuries caused by dog bites.
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.” A reputed California dog bite lawyer, who has successfully handled dog bite cases on behalf of injured victims will be able to protect victims’ rights and make sure that negligent dog owners are held accountable.
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.