The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a pit bull attack that has left a man dead in Selma. According to a KSEE24 news report, the fatal dog bite incident occurred the night of December 11, 2012. Officials say a woman pulled into her driveway and found a man lying on the ground, while the pit bulls were discovered inside a neighboring home with blood on them. The dogs were taken away along with six pit bull puppies and two other dogs. Nearby residents say the dogs had a violent history.
One neighbor stated he was not surprised that they attacked because he knew them to be “vicious, uncontrollable dogs,” and that they killed his dog a month ago. Another neighbor says the dogs could be seen roaming the neighborhood. Animal control officials say they had not received any calls or complaints before Tuesday’s fatal attack.
I offer my deepest sympathies to the family members and friends of this deceased dog bite victim. They will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Pit Bull Attacks
According to 2011 statistics reported by Dogsbite.org, out of 31 fatal dog attacks in the United States that year, 22 (71 percent) involved pit bulls, although the breed makes up less than 5 percent of the U.S. dog population. In 2011, adult victims of fatal pit bull attacks more than doubled the number of child victims. Of the 22 people who were killed by pit bulls, 68 percent were between the ages of 32 and 76 and 32 percent were 5 years and younger. The year 2011 also marks an increase in pet pit bulls killing their owners, Dogsbite.org reports. Together pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 84 percent of all fatal dog attacks in 2011.
Laws and Liability Issues
It appears from the news account that the dogs that were involved in this attack had a violent history. However, it is not clear why animal control officers had not received complaints earlier regarding the animals. Under California law, dog owners can be held financially responsible for their pets’ actions regardless of the animals’ prior vicious history or the dog owner’s knowledge of the dangers they pose. It is also a dog owner’s responsibility to ensure that his or her pets are on a leash at all times and kept securely in an enclosed space. Roaming dogs pose a serious threat to public safety.
In cases where a dog owner’s negligence has resulted in a fatality, criminal charges may be filed. In addition, the owner can be held civilly liable for the victim’s wrongful death. Such cases are usually filed by the surviving members of the victim’s family and seek damages for medical and funeral costs, lost future income and loss of love and companionship. An experienced dog bite lawyer in California will be able to stay on top of the official investigation and make sure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.