Police Dog Bites Toddler While Officers Try to Make an Arrest
A police dog bit and seriously injured a toddler girl while officers were attempting to arrest her uncle in their San Jose home. According to a news report in the Mercury News, the dog bit 22-month-old Arabella and the city of San Jose has confirmed that it will cover medical costs for the child. Officials have called it an “unfortunate incident.” The girl had to get six stitches on her back to treat the injury, which occurred the night of July 14 at the home in the 800 block of Bird Avenue.
Dog Injures Toddler
San Jose police officers served a search warrant for Hector Pena, who was wanted for violating probation related to a prior vehicle theft conviction. According to police, officers went to the home and tried to track down Pena, but say he did not comply with orders to surrender. That’s when an officer brought a police dog into the home.
As soon as the dog entered, it turned toward the toddler and bit her. The child’s mother said the dog bit her on the back even though she did nothing to provoke the animal. The child was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and officers eventually arrested Pena. The Mercury News reports that the police dog is expected to be given additional training.
Laws Relating to K-9 Bites
California’s strict liability law holds dog owners financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses caused by pets. However, under state law, police officers have special protections when their dogs inflict injuries on people in the course of making arrests. Yet, police officers have no protection in the law for use of excessive force, violation of civil rights or causing injuries that are outside the scope of law enforcement. Police departments in California are required to have an adopted written policy on the necessary and appropriate use of a police dog.
Justice for Victims
In cases where injuries are caused by K-9 units, a thorough investigation must be conducted in order to determine whether an officer used the dog properly and whether he or she violated department policies by using excessive force. If you have been injured by a police dog and believe that it was caused by excessive use of force, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced California personal injury lawyer who has handled similar cases successfully.
Injured victims may be entitled to receive compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Any injury claim against a governmental entity must be filed within 180 days of the incident.