At least two people including a 14-year-old boy were injured in a dog attack near a Hemet apartment complex. According to an NBC San Diego news report, the incident occurred in the 800 block of Douglas Court near Johnston Avenue. Paramedics were sent to the location along with police officers to help the victims whose identities were not released.
The legal guardian of the teen who was bitten said the dog belonged to her neighbor. The boy was taken to a nearby hospital and got stitches on his leg. He is expected to recover. Neighbors said the aggressive pit bull was running loose with another dog, but the second dog didn’t pose a threat. The pit bull was reported to have been chasing people at the apartment complex.
Dog Bite Statistics
Nearly 90 million dogs are owned as pets in the United States, according to the American Pet Products Association. While human interactions with dogs are often peaceful and pleasurable, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The agency attributed over 300 deaths to dog attacks between 1979 and 1996, most of them involving children. An analysis by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found roughly 316,000 emergency room visits and 9,500 hospitalizations in 2008 were related to dog bites. DogsBite.org reports 31 dog bite-related human fatalities occurred in 2016 and a total of 392 deaths from 2005 through 2016.
Laws and Liability Issues
Under California’s strict liability statute, dog owners can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses caused by their pets. 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 this particular case, if what neighbors say is true and this aggressive dog was allowed to remain in the apartment complex, the victims might also have a premises liability claim against the apartment owner and or property manager for allowing such a dog to remain on the property. An experienced California dog bite lawyer will be able to analyze all aspects of the case and advise victims regarding their legal rights and options.