The number of dog bites reported to the San Diego county Department of Animal Services has increased 10 percent since last year, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. While some dog bites are relatively minor, others can result in serious and possibly even fatal injuries. Victims of dog bites are not without recourse, however, as they may be able to make a claim against the at-fault dog owner in a personal-injury lawsuit.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Department of Animal Services (DAS) received almost 2,700 reports of dog attacks last fiscal year, which is an average of approximately seven dog bites every day. The number of reported dog attacks has increased continuously over the past four years in San Diego county, with an increase of just over 10 percent this year.
San Diego county law requires a dog to cause "substantial" injury in an attack or to bite two people within four years before DAS can classify the dog as dangerous and implement restrictions on it. Euthanasia is a possibility in extreme cases, but usually San Diego's Dangerous Dog Task Force requires the dog to wear a muzzle while in public or requires the dog owner to improve fencing or other confinement methods.
While it takes substantial injury or two bites before the San Diego Dangerous Dog Task Force becomes involved, dog-attack victims may be able to make a legal claim against the dog owner following a single bite. Under California law, a dog owner is liable for the damages suffered by a person bitten by the dog while in a public place or while lawfully in a private place, such as being invited into the dog owner's back yard. California law states that a dog owner is legally responsible for a bite "regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness."
Therefore, people injured in dog attacks may be able to recover compensation for their medical expenses and pain and suffering from dog owners through personal-injury lawsuits. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience in dog-bite cases to discuss your legal options.