Woman Hospitalized After Unprovoked Attack by Police Dog in Santa Clara
Melissa Silva, 42, was injured in a dog attack near Levi Stadium in Santa Clara when a police dog that was off-leash rushed her and bit her. According to a KTVU news report, Silva was walking with her dog when she ventured into a soccer field. That’s when the police dog attacked her. She was transported to a local hospital with several puncture wounds to her left arm. She was released from the hospital but may need surgery and physical therapy.
Dog Bite Incident
Santa Clara police said the public city park soccer field was not open to the public at the time and that the officer was doing “off-leash training with his dog” at the time. Officials said Silva and her dog “unexpectedly entered the facility through the closed and latched gate.” Silva said she is in shock after the dog attack. She said she never saw the officer or his dog before the attack.
Silva said she was trying to protect her dog from a mauling by swinging it by its leash when the police dog turned on her. She said it took around 45 seconds for the officer to pry the dog’s jaws off her arm as she bled profusely. KTVU notes that the city of Santa Clara says on its website that the youth soccer field where the dog attack occurred is open from 6 a.m. to about half an hour after sunset “unless otherwise noted at the park entrance.”
Why Police Dog Bites Are Dangerous
The Marshall Project, which investigated police dog attacks, found that bites by police dogs could potentially cause life-altering injuries or even deaths. That is because dogs used by police officers are bred and trained to have a bit strong enough to punch through sheet metal.
Their bites could resemble shark attacks, according to experts and medical researchers. When they attack people, they can leave harrowing scars and torn muscles, leading to dangerous infections. In a California police dog attack, a woman’s scalp was torn off. In Colorado, a police dog damaged a man’s vocal cords; in Arizona, a man’s face was ripped off.
Justice for Dog Bite Victims
Negligent dog owners are not always prosecuted. They may not face criminal charges or even citations. However, they can be held civilly liable for the injuries and damages their pet has caused. Under California’s strict liability statute, dog owners can be held financially responsible for dog attacks, regardless of the animal’s history of prior aggression. Injured victims would be well advised to contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney who will fight for their rights and ensure that they are fairly compensated and that the dog owner is held accountable.
H. Gavin Long
Gavin Long is a California personal injury attorney with a winning record of obtaining large verdicts & settlements. Gavin represents injured plaintiffs throughout California and has one of the largest rehab facility negligence verdicts in California history. Gavin is a seasoned trial attorney with decades of experience in serious car accidents, dog bites, dangerous and defective products, and premises liability cases.
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