A 36-year-old female mail-carrier in Fresno was severely injured in a dog bite incident after she was attacked by a pack of four pit-bulls as she was delivering mail in the Mayfair area near McLane High School, according to an ABC news report. Luckily for the mail carrier neighbor Maria Nava intervened and warded off the attacking animals before the incident became deadly.
A related ABC news articlestates that these dogs had a history of violent attacks and neighbors said the animals should’ve been removed from their area well before this attack. These pit-bulls had already attacked other neighborhood pets as well as a partially blind 77-year-old woman and had not been rounded up as required by Tyler’s Law. This law, named after a 6-year-old Fresno County boy mauled to death by dogs already deemed “vicious,” was designed to stop dogs from attacking more than once.
A report states that this most recent attack has now forced Fresno county officials to re-examine the way they are controlling or keeping tabs on vicious dogs. They are learning that one of the loopholes in Tyler’s Law was that officials required solid proof of dog attacks such as dates, times and videotape evidence, which some of these dog bite victims could not provide.
There is no doubt that Fresno county officials must take another look at the law and how it is being enforced. An effective dangerous dog law must work at two levels. First, the dogs that have been termed vicious must be secured in the owner’s property with the required signage and restrained when outside. Secondly, dog owners must be required to carry liability insurance so that victims, who often face costly medical bills, are protected. Dog owners are also required to open their properties for city inspections to ensure compliance. If a dangerous dog law does not cover these grounds, it is high time they took another good look at its validity and efficacy.
“Last year, more than 3,000 city and rural carriers were attacked by dogs across the United States…” according to the United States Postal Service. My firm is currently representing yet another USPS mail carrier severely bitten by a pit bull in Westminster, California. The owner of that pit bull, like the owner of the pit bulls in the Mayfair case had ineffective attention by county officials. Ineffective or lacking enforcement sooner or later is going to cost counties big money in lawsuits by the people their enforcement is supposed to protect.
The mail carrier in the Mayfair case has her federal workers’ compensation benefits to fall back on. She also has a right to make a claim against the pit bulls’ owner for personal injury. Conceivably the personal injury case is worth ten or twenty times more to her than the workers’ compensation benefits.