A woman in her 40s was seriously injured when she was attacked by pit bulls that escaped from a neighbor’s yard. According to a news report in The Press-Enterprise, the dog attack occurred the morning of August 12, 2013. The woman was walking her smaller dog in the 6600 block of 6th Street. The pit bulls apparently first went after the woman’s little dog and then attacked her as she picked up her dog. The pit bull tore off the right side of her face. She also had a gaping wound on her right arm, officials said. The dogs’ owner was cited and the dogs will be euthanized.
Neighbors said they came to the woman’s rescue as she started to scream. A neighbor said he saw the victim lying on the curb with the two pit bulls on her. The neighbor kicked one of the dogs and managed to scare it away. Another man was able to pry the other dog off the woman’s head. The dogs’ owner, identified as 29-year-old Mauricio De La Barrera, said the attack “was an accident” and that the dogs broke through the gate. He apologized for the incident and said neither dog had shown signs of aggression prior to this incident. De La Barrera was cited for having two animals straying and for having an unlicensed adult dog.
The Debate about Pit Bulls
This incident has once again sparked the decades-long debate about having pit bulls for pets. Pit bull lovers say that the animals are great family pets and that they get a lot of bad publicity. However, statistics over the years show that pit bulls are involved in a disproportionately large number of fatal dog attacks. A pit bull’s instinct is to grab and hold on. This often proves fatal, especially for young children who are attacked. Detractors say pit bulls are like “miniature time bombs.” You never know when one will go off.
Liability Issues in Dog Bite Cases
Regardless of the breed of dog, California law is very clear when it comes to dog owners’ liability. Under California’s strict liability statute, dog owners are responsible for the injuries and damages caused by their pets. Injured victims can seek compensation from the dog owner for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of surgery, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Injured dog bite victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases and will help hold the negligent dog owners accountable.