A dog attack under any circumstances can be devastating, but losing a loved one is particularly tragic. In San Diego, victims who suffer a dog bite or a survivor’s family members often find justice through filing a lawsuit. In some situations, the owner of the animal may also face criminal charges, as is the case with a California woman whose pit bulls attacked and killed a neighbor.
In 2011, an elderly woman had gone outside to water her rose garden. Her husband later found her outside with a mutilated left arm and left leg. Two pit bulls belonging to the couple’s neighbor were found with blood around their mouths and on their chests. The dogs reportedly bit the woman more than 50 times and caused multiple lacerations. Due to the trauma of the event, the woman, who was 75, suffered a heart attack, later passing away after kidney failure, pneumonia and two additional cardiac episodes.
The dogs’ owner admitted to finding the animals next to her screaming neighbor. The year before, the pit bulls attacked another neighbor and his poodle. A representative from animal control had instructed the owner to secure her yard, which she did, but the dogs escaped through a hole under the fence to commit the fatal attack. The woman was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and owning an animal that kills a human being.
An appeals court determined that the woman should not have been convicted of the manslaughter charge, but the other charge, a felony, stands. Both of the dogs were euthanized. People who have experienced a dog attack should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Source: San Diego Reader, “Appellate court weighs grisly pit bull death scene,” Don Bauder, Dec. 27, 2014