A police dog trained to sniff out drugs ended up attacking a 5-year-old boy on the evening of Aug. 3 during a National Night Out event in South Pasadena.
The local event, set up to build relationships between police and the community, ended with a youngster suffering significant wounds from the dog attack, that seemed to come without warning.
According to a news report in the Pasadena Star News, Sebastian Forbes had to get stitches for bite wounds from the attack on the left side of his face, near his eye, and on his ear along with bruising on his neck and shoulder.
Bloody Attack by Canine
The attack occurred at a demonstration held by South Pasadena police officers where narcotics dogs would sniff out synthetic aids, hidden from plain sight. As the Forbes family joined a crowd to watch the demonstration, standing about 10 to 15 feet from the unleashed dog, the canine rushed toward the 5-year-old boy, made eye contact, and then lunged at Sebastian biting into his face. The boy’s father and an officer were able to pull the dog off the child who was bloodied and screaming.
His father, Josh Forbes, said Sebastian had to be sedated during a hospital visit, but he was back home recovering. Forbes said he is worried about the trauma that has been inflicted on his young son as a result of this dog attack, and what the consequences of that trauma might be in the years to come. The 8-year-old Dutch Shepherd that bit the boy has been in the department for seven years, but will be taken off patrol and will be evaluated by the officer who handles him, police officials said.
Josh Forbes told the Star News that he is considering filing a lawsuit against the police department because the incident was avoidable. He said the dog should have been kept under a leash and should have been controlled by the officer at all times. He likened the dog to a loaded gun for which the safety should have been kept on. In this case, the safety would’ve been the leash.
Dog Bite Liability
California has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog bites. This means that dog owners are financially responsible for the injuries, damages, and losses that their animals cause. In this particular case, the demonstration with the canine was being held in a public place where members of the community had a reasonable expectation of safety. As the boy’s father said, this dog bite incident could have been prevented had the dog been kept on a leash.
In such cases, victims may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, expenses related to psychological therapy, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. An experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer will be able to guide victims and their families through a complex claims process and help them secure maximum compensation for their losses.