The San Diego District Attorney’s office has filed four misdemeanor criminal charges against a man who was caring for four pit bulls that were involved in a brutal dog attack last year. The incident occurred along a Valley Center trail. The dogs viciously attacked two brothers – Richard and John Garriston – who were running at the time. Jose Ledesma, 40, who was caring for his friend’s pit bulls, has been charged with two counts of failing to protect the public from the dogs and two counts of failing to restrain a dog. If convicted of all charges, Ledesma faces one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Following the incident, life has been difficult for Richard Garritson, according to the report. A competitive runner, Garritson was severely bitten in his arms and legs and had to undergo surgery. He told the newspaper soon after the attack that he thought he was going to die then and there.
Recent Dog Attacks in the San Diego Area
There have been several serious dog attacks recently in the San Diego area. In June, an 8-month-old Lemon Grove boy was killed in a pit bull attack. Last year, a San Diego woman was mauled by a pit bull and eventually died from her injuries. In 2010, a mail carrier in Oceanside was attacked by a Rottweiler and died from his injuries. Also, during the same year, a 2-year-old boy died after he was mauled by a German shepherd-mix in a military housing complex in San Diego.
Liability Issues in Dog Attacks
Under California law, in addition to facing criminal charges, dog owners can be held financially responsible for their negligence. 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.”
In such cases, injured victims can seek compensation to cover damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages, lost future income, hospitalization and rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Victims can also seek cosmetic surgery expenses, which are often not covered by insurance, but required after a dog attack to reduce the appearance of scars. An experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer
will be able to advise injured victims and their families about their legal rights and options.