SIGNON SAN DIEGO’S Debbi Baker reported that 6-year-old Sarah Villa was the victim of a dog bite by a pit bull in City Heights on August 26, 2011. The attack happened at around 11:30 a.m. as Sarah played at a friend’s house on Auburn Drive near Euclid Avenue where the dog had been chained by her friend’s father who owned the dog. The dog got loose and attacked Sarah biting her in the face and then in the arm. According to Animal Control Officer Lt. Dan DeSousa the dog’s owner was also bit while trying to intervene as well as his daughter. “You can take a good dog and make it bad by chaining it, and take a bad dog and make it even worse,” DeSousa said. The 4-year-old, 65 pound Pit Bull was taken to be tested for rabies and quarantined for ten days, pending a decision as to his fate.
Applicable California Law
Despite the dog owner’s representations that he had only shortly acquired the dog and the previous owner denied knowledge any dangerous propensities by the dog, the owner will still face potential claims for personal injuries to Sarah (see my prior Blog post San Diego Infant Mauled By Dogs for California Law on Dog Bites). However, the fact that two young children were left alone seemingly unsupervised could potentially result in partial comparative fault on Sarah’s parents if they knew the dog was a potential hazard.
Young children are at high risk from dog bites, because they lack the ability to defend themselves or appreciate the potential danger. This is why children should always be supervised if a dog or any animal is around. Dog bites can result in physical and emotional scars that can last a life time. If you or someone you know is the victim of a dog attack talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.