A 5-year-old girl was seriously injured in a dog attack outside a Starbucks in Ventura the night of July 18, 2013. According to a CBS Los Angeles news report, the dog bite incident occurred in the 600 block of East Main Street. Witnesses told police that the girl and a parent walked by the dog in front of the coffee shop when it lunged at it, bit into her abdomen and lifted her off the ground.
The dog then shook her violently. However, the dog’s owner was able to pry its mouth off the child. Police got several 911 calls about the attack. The girl was transported to a local hospital where she got medical treatment for several puncture wounds and bruising. Her condition is not known. Animal Control officers took the dog into custody.
Dog Bites and Breeds
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of all fatal dog bite incidents in the United States involve two breeds of dogs – pit bulls and rottweilers. CDC also reports that dogs bite approximately 4.5 million Americans every year. About one in five dog bites require medical attention. In the year 2006, more than 31,000 people suffered serious injuries that required reconstructive surgery following a dog attack. Children often suffer serious injuries in dog attacks including head and facial trauma.
Dog Attack Liability Issues
California has what is known as a “strict liability statute” when it comes to liability in dog bite cases. Under this law, dog owners are financially responsible for the injuries and damages caused by their pets. The only exception is when a victim deliberately provokes a dog or when the dog bite victim is an intruder or trespasser who is breaking the law. Whether the incident occurs in a public or private place, the dog owner can be held liable. The dog owner is also responsible regardless of his or her knowledge of the dog’s prior history of attacks.
Injured victims of dog attacks can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries such as scarring or disfigurement, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury attorney who will fight for their rights and ensure that the negligent dog owner is held accountable.