Penny Holt, a woman who was severely injured in a dog attack about two weeks ago in San Bernardino is wondering why local animal control officials have made little effort to track the dog that bit her or its owner. According to a KABC news report, Holt was exercising along Valencia Avenue in San Bernardino when she spotted a woman on a bike alongside a German Shepherd making their way toward her. Holt saw the dog was not on a leash. The dog then charged at her. She put her arm up to protect her neck and face as the dog attacked, but the animal attacked her brutally causing serious muscle and tissue damage. A retired Los Angeles firefighter to came to her rescue and called 911 said it was the worst animal bite he had ever seen. The owner in the meantime took her dog and walked away from the scene.
Lack of Response from Officials
Neither police nor animal control responded, the woman said. Holt went to the hospital where doctors were able to successfully reattach the muscle and tissue in her arm. Despite repeated calls to animal control no one showed up to take a report, she said. Police are now looking for the dog and its owner saying that a miscommunication about the severity of the injury may have caused the delay. They are asking anyone with information to contact 909-384-5742.
Protecting the Rights of Dog Bite Victims
Identifying and locating a biting dog’s owner is critical for a dog attack victim. California has a strict liability statute when it comes to animal attacks. This means that the owner of a biting dog can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses caused. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of surgery, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
In this particular case, it is disturbing and highly concerning that local authorities made little effort to locate the dog owner. Considering the seriousness and severity of Holt’s injuries, officials should have been concerned about who else this dog could attack or injure. Next time, the attack could prove catastrophic or fatal.
Victims in such cases would be well-advised to contact an experienced San Bernardino dog bite attorney who will stay abreast of the case and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected. Negligent dog owners should be held accountable and at the same time, the larger community needs to be protected from dangerous dogs.
Image credit: KABC