Two pit bulls running loose in a Santa Ana neighborhood killed a cat and bit a man, The Orange County Register reports. Police say that multiple people called the authorities to report the two dogs that had killed a cat in the 3100 block of South Lowell Street. The dogs then tried to attack a woman, but she was able to get away. That’s when they tried to attack a small dog that was with a man.
The man had been walking his dog near Alton Avenue and Bristol Street. The pit bulls bit the man as he tried to protect his dog. His injuries were not life-threatening, but he was taken to a hospital for treatment. Officers confiscated the two attacking dogs and said they were going to be sent to animal control authorities. Police are also in the process of tracking down the dogs’ owners.
According to the victim advocacy site, DogsBite.org, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2016, costing more than $600 million. In 2015, more than 28,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs. Each day about 1,000 people in the United States require emergency care treatment for serious dog bite injuries.
California has what is known as a “strict liability statute” when it comes to dog bites. This means that dog owners can be held liable for the injuries, damages and losses their pets cause. California’s Civil Code Section 3342 states: “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
Dog bites have the potential to result in serious injuries or even fatalities. Some of the common types of injuries that occur when dogs attack include puncture wounds, lacerations, broken bones, head injuries, severe bleeding and nerve injuries. Children are particularly at risk of serious facial injuries that might not even be fully repaired with reconstructive surgery.
In addition to the physical injuries sustained, dog bite victims also suffer emotionally and psychologically from issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and paranoia. Injured victims of dog attacks can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitative treatment, reconstructive or cosmetic surgery, psychological counseling, therapy and pain and suffering.
There are a number of steps injured victims would be well advised to take in the aftermath of a dog attack. First, file a report with your local animal control or police agency. Get prompt medical attention, treatment and care for the injuries you have suffered, and follow the doctor’s orders in terms of follow-up care.
Try to locate the dog owner. Obtain the name, address and contact information for the owner in addition to the dog’s license number. Take photographs at the scene and preserve all physical evidence including torn or bloody clothing, ripped shoes, etc. Obtain contact information for any eyewitnesses who may have seen you getting attacked. They may also be able to provide valuable information such as whether a dog was loose or on a leash in cases where the owner was present at the scene. All Orange County cities have strict leash laws requiring dogs to be on a leash as opposed to running loose.
Often, a dog owner’s homeowner insurance policy will cover injuries, damages and losses caused by a dog attack. An experienced Orange County dog bite lawyer can help evaluate your case and help you pursue fair and full compensation for your losses.