California Dog Bite Injuries: Know the Facts

Dog bite injuries can cause serious physical harm and an overwhelming amount of pain and fear, especially for young children who may come away with a long-term fear of dogs or other animals. Understanding the statistics surrounding dog bite injuries is the first step in protecting yourself and those you love from harm.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 800,000 people in the U.S. need medical treatment for a dog bite each year. Just under half, or about 386,000, need emergency room or hospital treatment for their injuries.

Escondido Police Shoot and Kill Pit Bull

Earlier today, Escondido police shot and killed one of two pit bulls that had attacked a woman’s dog.

The attack happened near the intersection of West 10th Avenue and South Maple Street in Escondido. Neighbors report seeing the dog being attacked and came to fend off the pit bulls with shovels.

Animal control officers tried to catch the pit bulls, but the animals confronted the officers very aggressively. Police officers arrived later only to find the pit bulls circling the officers. Pepper spray was ineffective and when one of the dogs rushed the police officers, one of the dogs was shot twice and later died.

The second pit bull was taken into custody by animal control and the dog’s owners could be facing criminal charges for the attack.

We hope that these dog owners face the maximum criminal penalty for allowing their obviously dangerous dogs to run around the neighborhood unescorted. Luckily the dog that was attacked is expected to survive. But it could have easily been a person or a child that was attacked. It is unconscionable that these dogs were left unattended on the streets.

If you or a loved one has ever been injured by a dog bite or attack, please contact us so that your rights are immediately protected.

Orange County Girl Injured In Vicious Dog Bite Incident

A dog bite attack in Lake Forest on May 19, 2010, left a six-year-old girl seriously injured. The dog, which was described as a pit bull mix or a boxer, attacked the girl when she was playing in the driveway of her home. According to police, the dog pushed the child to the ground and began biting her fiercely.

The mother of the girl was coming out of her house with her infant child and her 14-year old son at the time of the attack. Despite her efforts and the help of a neighbor, the dog would not let go until her older brother jumped on the dog and punched it until it let go. The mother took all her children inside only to emerge with a handgun and began chasing the attacking animal. She chased the dog and shot it while it was on the porch. The dog survived the gunshot, but the girl sustained serious personal injuries including several bites on her leg, body, and face. The Police are currently looking for the dog owner to investigate why the dog was acting violently and why he was off leash and unsupervised at the time of the accident.

We hope that the young girl comes out of the shock and pain that this vicious attack and is not left with severe physical and emotional scars. Dog bite attacks can be extremely traumatic to anyone—people are hardwired to generally like dogs and it is scary when they turn and injure a person. However, as traumatic as it is for an adult, it is infinitely more traumatic for a child. Dog owners need to know that under California’s Dog Bite Statute, they are strictly liable for any damage or injuries that their dog causes to another person provided that the injury victim is lawfully on the property at the time of the attack.

Most Likely Areas For Dog Bites in San Diego; Bites by Breed

A recent news story by NBC 7/39 highlights the areas in San Diego where victims are most likely to be bitten, the breeds most likely to bite, the months in which dog bites are most likely to occur, and the typical age of victims.

Not surprisingly, the months when dog bites are most likely to occur are warm-weather months, the most prevalent being July, when people are outside with their dogs enjoying the weather.

Also, not surprisingly, the highest number of reported dog bites come from pit bulls. Not surprisingly because the breed is very popular amongst owners who are either irresponsible or do not have the experience to control a very physical breed like a pit bull. However, the #2 breed–Labrador Retrievers–is a surprise. This breed is particularly popular amongst owners with young children and is known for its’ great temperament. We suspect the placing is due to the sheer number of the breed in San Diego County. As the news story states, any dog can bite at any time depending on the circumstances.

Our office actually gets more calls for the #4 breed, the chihuahua, than any other breed other than the pit bull. In our experience, the chihuahua is a particularly aggressive breed and will lash out at its’ owners and others. There are probably more bites by chihuahuas than the number reported. The saving grace is that, due to the animal’s size, the damage does not tend to be as serious or life-threatening as when a larger breed bites.

Last, the areas where most dog bites occur and the age of the victims raises a great deal of concern. Most dog bites occur in areas where pit bulls and more menacing dogs are popular. Coupled with the fact that most victims are under 10 years old, and this is a recipe for disaster.

Dog owners must take all steps to protect other members of the public from their animals’ aggressive actions. If you or a loved one has been bitten, knocked down, or otherwise injured by a dog, please contact us for an immediate consultation.

Protect Yourself and Your Family from San Diego Dog Bite Injuries

Most people associate “dog bite injuries” with strange dogs or with dog breeds raised to guard buildings and people, such as Rottweilers or pit bulls. However, any dog may bite any human being, and even the bite of a small dog can cause serious injuries.

Help protect yourself and your family from dog bites by following these tips for socializing with dogs.

  • When meeting a strange dog, stand still and allow the dog to see and sniff you before attempting to touch or pet it. If the dog growls or backs away, do not try to follow or touch it. Always ask a dog’s owner, if possible, before offering your hand to a dog to sniff or trying to pet it.
  • If you are approached by a strange dog, do not run away. Stand still and avoid making direct eye contact with the dog, as the dog may interpret this as aggression. If you are knocked to the ground, curl up in a ball and protect your face, head, and neck as much as possible.
  • Before adopting a dog, talk to a veterinarian or licensed breeder about which breeds would be best for your family. Spend time with the new dog before bringing it into your home. If any member of the family is afraid of dogs, do not adopt one; wait until the family member has learned more about dogs and is no longer afraid of them.

Dog bites can cause serious fear, pain and suffering, and serious injuries. If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, please don’t hesitate to call an experienced San Diego dog bite injury attorney. We will help you understand your legal rights and protect your family’s needs. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation by phone.

Pit Bull, Rottweiler, and Wolf Hybrid Dog Bites are Still Rampant in San Diego

Just take one look at the website DogsBite.org and you will be bombarded with stories about Pit Bull, Rottweiler, and Wolf Hybrid attacks. Just recently, in Texas, two adults got their eyes ripped out by pit bulls in a vicious dog attack.

Many times these dog attacks can be pretty gruesome and one of the scary things is that these attacks happen just as often on both adults and children. The combination of the three breeds amount to

* 77 percent of attacks that cause bodily harm
* 73 percent of dog attacks on children
* 83 percent of attacks on adults
* 70 percent of attacks that result in fatalities
* 77 percent that results in maiming

It is a myth that, in California, a dog owner is only responsible for his dog’s actions if the owner was negligent or irresponsible. In fact, California’s dog bite statute holds owners nearly “strictly liable”–meaning responsible even though they may have acted carefully–for their dog’s actions so long as the victim was legally allowed to be where the dog bite occurred (in other words, not a burglar, etc.).

Now, not all dogs of these breeds are dangerous. But Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Wolf Hybrids all have a higher propensity to be dangerous, which, when coupled with lax, weak, timid, or just irresponsible owners lead to the dogs losing control of their aggressive natures. Regardless, when a dog of any breed attacks, it is not man’s best friend and it is very savage in asserting its’ dominance over its’ victim.

If you or a neighbor have been involved in a dog attack or San Diego dog bite, please contact the San Diego dog bite lawyers to hold their owners accountable for their irresponsibility.

Escondido Dog Bite Attack Leaves Man Seriously Injured

A 56-year old man was badly bitten in a San Diego County dog bite attack on February 16, 2010, by a pair of aggressive dogs, one of which has a history of biting. This dog bite accident took place in a West Escondido gated community.

The victim, Tom Atkinson, said he was finishing a jog on Rock View Glen in the Emerald Heights development when he noticed two loose pit-bull mix dogs growling at a neighbor and his leashed dog. He joined the neighbor and fought off the dogs. However, as Atkinson continued up the street, the dogs turned around and charged. He was bitten several times by the pair of animals, leaving him with one bad bite to the forearm that required stitches to close the wound and another deep bite to the thigh.

One of the dogs was impounded by a San Diego County Animal Control Officer but was later released to the owner, who promised to keep it on a 10-day quarantine. The other dog also was allowed to stay with the owner but was not quarantined. There may be an administrative hearing to determine whether the dogs are potentially dangerous under the law.

Our office wishes for a speedy recovery for Tom Atkinson. We are indeed glad more serious harm was not done! Some of you may know from prior posts that I am not a fan of breed specific dog laws, particularly those that target Rottweilers or Pit Bulls. While these breeds are most commonly involved in dog bite attacks, it is my own belief that these attacks are the fault of poor owners who are attracted to owning these breeds due to their menacing appearance and strong physiques. Certainly, if you own either of these breeds, you must be a strong and dominant owner—more so than if you own another, less physically imposing breed. Dogs are pack animals and will submit to a pack leader that it respects. Respect, for dogs, comes from an owner who has strong mental discipline and will discipline their pet when it gets out of line.

In this case, how could the owners of these dogs allow them to run free in this neighborhood? This is particularly true of the owner of the dog with the prior bite history. This is completely inexcusable. It is bad enough that Mr. Atkinson was attacked and severely wounded. However, what would have happened—as we normally see in these cases—if these dogs would have attacked a child? Typically, the result is massive traumatic injury and perhaps even death for the child who cannot defend itself against such strong animals. Dog owners must always be responsible, but even more so when they own potentially lethal breeds.

Protecting Yourself from Dog Attacks in San Diego

While dogs provide wonderful companionship to families and individuals every day around the world, man’s best friend can also pose a danger of bites that can leave long-lasting harm to a victim. Although these attacks are often sudden and unexpected, steps can be taken to protect yourself and your loved ones from a dog bite incident in San Diego, so follow these tips.

Preventing a Dog Bite

In order to prevent an attack when encountering a dog, follow these steps:

  • Do not interact with an unknown dog, and only interact with an animal when its owner gives permission.
  • Do not interact with canines that are eating, drinking, restrained, sleeping, resting, injured, very old, or with their puppies. They will naturally be more defensive and more likely to attack.
  • If in danger of an attack, prevent interaction with the animal and remain calm. Do not run away, as this will cause the dog to chase and attack you. Instead, stand still at a 90-degree angle to the dog, avoid eye contact, and slowly back away after it loses interest.

During a Dog Attack

If you are attacked by a dog, it is important to follow these tips in order to minimize injury and the duration of the attack:

  • Give the animal any loose items you have, such as jackets and bags, to distract them and keep them from biting you.
  • Put anything you can between you and the dog (tables, chairs, etc.) to stop it from getting close and biting.
  • Loudly and authoritatively yell commands such as “No” and “Stop,” which the dog may be trained to obey.
  • If you are knocked down, curl up on the ground with your legs tucked underneath you, head facing the ground, and hands behind your head and neck. This will minimize the damage that a dog can do while attacking.

While many dog attacks can be prevented every year, there are still many others that are unavoidable. When such attacks are the result of another’s negligence or reckless behavior, injured victims can seek compensation from the responsible party. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an incident, the San Diego dog bite injury attorneys can apply their years of experience to help you find compensation for your injuries. For more information on how we can aid you in your case, contact us.