A 4-year-old girl suffered bite wounds and a torn lip after a neighbor’s pit bull attacked her at an apartment complex. According to a news report in The San Diego Union-Tribune, the dog bite incident occurred the morning of October 9, 2012 in National City. Police say Brittany Gardiner, 22, had taken her 70-pound pit bull outside on a leash when the child, a neighbor, asked to pet the dog. The child walked up to the dog after Gardiner had given her permission, but the pit bull lunged and bit her face.
A police officer responded to the 911 calls and arrived as residents pulled the dog off the child. Gardiner then tried to put the dog in her car and leave, but officers stopped her and placed her under arrest. The victim was transported to a local hospital where she underwent surgery and remains in serious but stable condition. Gardiner was booked on suspicion of felony child endangerment, obstructing an officer and owning an animal that caused serious injury.
My heart goes out to this young child who suffered serious injuries in the incident. I wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. She will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Dog Attack Statistics
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of dog bite-related injuries is highest for children between the ages of 5 and 9. Children are more likely than adults to receive medical attention for dog bites. Between the years 2005 and 2011, pit bulls were responsible for 127 of the 213 total dog attack fatalities reported in the United States.
Based on this news report, the child did the right thing by asking the dog’s owner for permission to pet the pit bull. However, it is evident that the dog’s owner was unable to control her pet. In addition, she attempted to leave a severely injured child at the scene and tried to get away with her dog! Under California’s “strict liability statute,” dog owners can be held financially responsible, in addition to any criminal charges they may face, for the injuries caused by their pets.
In such cases, injured victims or their families can seek compensation from negligent dog owners for damages including medical expenses, hospitalization, surgery, psychological counseling, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Dog bite victims would be well advised to contact an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer, who will help hold the negligent dog owner liable. In some cases, the property owner can also be held liable if it can be proven that he or she knew that a dangerous dog lived on the premises.