A 70-year-old woman, identified by a family member as Lana Bergman, was killed by four dogs that attacked her the night of Jan. 16. According to a KESQ news report, deputies from the Morongo Basin Station received a call about a “vicious animal attack” in the 59000 block of Sunflower Drive in Joshua Tree. When they arrived, deputies found the victim at home alone, suffering from severe injuries as a result of being mauled by four pit bulls. She died from her injuries shortly afterward.
The Sheriff’s Department found in its investigation that Bergman lived at the residence with her husband and an adult male friend who owned the dogs. Officials said the dogs were considered “family pets” and that the victim had helped take care of them over the past year. However, the victim’s brother, Jay Barnett told KESQ that his sister was estranged from her husband and had been living on the property alone for years until recently.
He said Bergman allowed a couple and their four dogs to park their trailer on the property for a weekend, but they continued to stay there despite her objections. Barnett called the pit bulls “loaded guns.” Bergman was 5-foot-1 and weighed 100 pounds. Barnett said he disputes the Sheriff’s version of events and believes the incident is “suspicious.” The investigation is still ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Morongo Basin Station, at (760) 366-4175.
We offer our deepest condolences to Lana Bergman’s family. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Dog Attack Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, details are still sketchy regarding Bergman’s relationship with the dog owners and precisely how this fatal dog attack occurred. Under California’s strict liability statute, dog owners are responsible for the injuries and damages 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.”
If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a dog attack, or if you have lost a loved one in a vicious animal attack, contact an experienced San Bernardino dog bite lawyer who will fight for your rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable.