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Pit bull attacks 5-year-old central California boy, mother

Posted on in Premises Liability

As the controversy over whether pit bulls are inherently more vicious than other breeds of dogs continues, so do incidents of pit bull attacks on unsuspecting victims. Just this week a woman and her young son were bitten by a dog who slipped off his leash while out for a walk.

The attack happened in Vallejo, California, Tuesday night just before 9:30. The woman said she and her son were in a parking lot when a man walking his dog passed by. Police said the dog somehow managed to get out of his collar and when he did, he went after the 5-year-old boy. As his mother tried to protect him, she was bitten, too.

The man and his dog had left the scene by the time police arrived, but police said they later found the dog nearby. Two officers, one from animal control, tried to take the dog, which they said became aggressive and tried to attack both officers. After a Taser shock proved ineffective, the officer shot the dog. It's not clear whether the dog died, but even if it can no longer attack, its owner could be hit with a premises liability lawsuit if the mother decides to file one to recoup her and her son's medical costs.

Fortunately, their injuries were fairly minor compared to those suffered in other dog attacks. Last month a 3-year-old Stockton girl was mauled at a barbecue by her father's pit bull. She suffered extensive injuries to her face and other parts of her body as a result, which required stitches and will eventually call for plastic surgery. In San Diego a pregnant woman was attacked by two pit bulls after a boy let them loose in a fenced-in common area.

Whether pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds is still up for debate, but a person bitten by any type of dog has the right to seek compensation for the cost of recovering from an attack. Owners are free to defend their dogs, but they must also be prepared to defend themselves in a personal injury lawsuit if they don't exercise due caution.

Source: Times-Herald, "Vallejo police shoot, kill pit bull after attack on 5 year old," Aug. 8, 2012

  • Our firm handles cases similar to those described in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our San Jose premises liability page.
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