Volunteer Sues Los Angeles Animal Services for Negligence After Dog Attack
Kelly Kaneko, a former volunteer at Los Angeles Animal Services, has filed a lawsuit against the agency after a dog attack that left her injured. According to a news report, the incident occurred in the city’s North Central Shelter on Oct. 31, 2019, when a German Shepherd named Jax attacked her. This is also the same shelter where animal care technician Priscilla Romero was mauled by a pit bull back in January 2017.
Kaneko’s lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges negligence, negligent hiring, training and supervision, premises liability and dangerous condition of public property. Kaneko says she was working as a volunteer at the shelter and was ordered to leash a 100-pound German Shepherd mixed-breed dog and escort him about 250 feet from his kennel to the shelter’s main facility where a prospective family was waiting to meet and potentially adopt him.
Severe Injuries Sustained
She states shelter staff advised her that the dog had been “grumpy,” but that there was no information that identified potential risks or formal warnings as was typical for a volunteer at this shelter. When Kaneko was placing the dog back in the kennel, it attacked her, biting her forearm and latching on to it. She said she was unable to break free and no one came to her aid in spite of her screaming in pain. The attack happened for seven minutes. She was transported to the hospital where she underwent surgeries and spent several weeks in intensive care, the lawsuit states.
The 16-page complaint says the city of Los Angeles and the Department of Animal Services knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous and should have warned volunteers at the shelter. It also alleges that volunteers lacked proper training on how to handle large dogs. The lawsuit states Kaneko’s right arm and hand were so severely injured that doctors initially planned to amputate the arm as two arteries and multiple veins were severed, bones were crushed and muscles and nerves were severed.
Compensation for Victims
California has a strict liability statute when it comes to dog attacks. This means that dog owners can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses their pets cause. This incident is an example of the severe damage a large dog can cause during an attack. In such cases, injured victims can seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, cost of hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, psychological counseling, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer will be able to advise victims in such cases regarding their legal rights and options.