Two dogs have been put down after they attacked and killed 5-year-old Sterling Vermeer in Oro Grande. According to the Victorville Daily Press, San Bernardino Sheriff’s officials initially disclosed the presence of only one dog at the scene of the attack that ended in the boy’s death. That dog, a pit bull, was surrendered at the scene. Another dog, described as a 4-year-old lab and pit bull mix, was also given up after both dogs were found covered in human blood by animal control officers. The dogs were put down.
Fatal Dog Attack
Officials said even though no one saw the attack take place, they concluded both animals were involved. The owners elected to surrender both dogs, which would not be available for adoption because they won’t be safe. While both dogs were put down, police said detectives determined only one was involved in the actual attack. No charges will be filed against the dog’s owner, officials said.
The fatal dog attack occurred the afternoon of Feb. 10 in the 15100 block of Portland Street. Officials got reports that a family dog was attacking a 5-year-old family member and would not let go. Police later determined that an adult relative at the home was supervising the child. When the adult stepped out of the room leaving the boy alone with the dog, the pit bull attacked the child. The boy died of traumatic injuries even before emergency personnel arrived.
Dog Bite Statistics and Law
According to Dogsbite.org, in the 13-year period between Jan. 1, 2005 and Dec. 31, 2017, dogs killed at least 433 people in the United States. Pit bulls contributed to 66% of these deaths while rottweilers, the second leading breed involved in fatal dog attacks, contributed to 10% of deaths. Combined, these two dog breeds accounted for 76% of the total unrecorded deaths.
California has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog attacks. 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.”
In dog bite cases that lead to injuries or fatalities, generally speaking, the negligent dog owner can be held accountable for the losses. Injured victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, cost of hospitalization, psychological counseling, cosmetic surgery and pain and suffering. Families of deceased victims can seek compensation for the victim’s wrongful death as well. An experienced San Bernardino County dog bite lawyer will be able to evaluate each case and help victims and their families protect their legal rights.