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Central California bicyclist attacked by dog pack

Posted on in Premises Liability

Those of us who have dogs are loathe to admit that they're capable of causing any harm, but the reality is that some pets are inclined to bite or attack a person under certain circumstances. Particularly if your dog is trained to guard your home, it's important to realize that a dog bite can happen with very little warning, even if the person attacked doesn't pose a real threat.

A bicyclist peddling along a rural road outside Delhi, California, was the victim of an attack by several dogs last week. According to Merced County sheriff's officials, five or six dogs, most of which were pit bulls or pit bull mixes, chased the man and pulled him off his bike. They continued to bite his arms, legs and torso until neighbors who heard his screams came to help him. The attack was serious enough to put him in the hospital in serious condition.

The dogs were caught and put in quarantine at an animal control facility. Although they tested negative for rabies, their fate is uncertain. The owner of four of the canines said they act as his guard dogs and are usually kept in his yard. He said that while he was away on vacation someone apparently left the gate open, allowing them to escape.

There's a chance the dogs will be euthanized, a fate the owner of those four dogs is willing to accept. But that may not be the end of the case. The owner could face both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit holding him liable for the cyclist's injuries.

Many have questioned whether the breed of dogs that attacked the cyclist is inherently dangerous. While it's true that many pit bulls are very gentle even around children, these particular dogs have demonstrated aggression. Sheriff's officials reported that the same pack of dogs had chased another cyclist earlier in the day, but that person escaped with just one bite. Regardless of their breed, dogs who bite or attack are putting their owners at risk of a personal injury lawsuit.

Source: CBS Sacramento, "Merced County Bicyclist In Stable Condition After Dog Pack Attack," July 5, 2012

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