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San Diego Animal Bites Law Blog

Roaming Dogs Attack Pedestrians Near South Los Angeles Elementary

Three dogs later identified as purebreds reportedly bit four pedestrians last week, three of them quite seriously. The dogs, two Belgian Malinois shepherds and a Dutch Shepherd, were roaming apparently free in the area around Manhattan Place Elementary School in South Los Angeles and attacked pedestrians unlucky enough to encounter them. Fortunately, no children were bitten.

The first of the four dog attacks was witnessed by children in a kindergarten class, who alerted adults. According to the school’s principal, school staff pulled the injured woman into the school and called 911 because the woman’s leg was bleeding. Meanwhile, the school nurse provided first aid. Officials ordered all children and school personnel inside until the dogs were captured.

The 'Dog Body Language' Strategy for Keeping Kids Safe From Bites

Every year, an estimated 800,000 people in the U.S. seek medical attention for dog bites. Sadly, half of those injured by dog bites are children between the ages of five to nine. Yet surely every parent has heard the advice that children should never be left alone with dogs, no matter how friendly they may seem. Are parents simply negligent, or does that advice simply not work?

One certified pet dog trainer (CPDT-KA), author and consultant strongly believes it’s the latter. She’s a retired U.S. Marine Corps Reserve colonel, so she probably didn’t have much trouble keeping her two children in line, but it’s her years of experience in dog training and pet care that lead her to that conclusion.

After consulting on hundreds of cases involving children injured by dog bites, she realized that about 95 percent of the time, a parent was in fact supervising -- standing a few feet away and even looking straight at the child and the dog. The problem, she says, is that those parents didn’t know what to look out for.

Zoo Investigates After Patron Is Bitten by Rhino

Thousands of people visit the San Diego Zoo with the expectation that they can see exotic animals up close without many of the concerns associated with seeing them in the wild. As such, zoo management should take steps to make sure that visitors are safe from animal attacks.

One woman visited a zoo in another state hoping to have a very unique experience. She paid an additional fee to pet and feed a black rhino. However, the offer billed as a "meet and greet" took an unfortunate turn when the animal bit the woman's finger. She was brought to a local hospital to receive treatment for her injuries.

Obama Says Breed-Specific Bans Don't Reduce Dog Bite Injuries

When President Obama adopted a second White House dog recently -- Sunny, a Portuguese water dog like original First Dog Bo -- the press and public was mesmerized by her cuteness. There was a secondary purpose to the press conference introducing Sunny to the world, as well. In response to a petition on change.org that garnered more than 30,000 signatures, the Administration announced its official position opposing breed-specific legislation as ineffective and a waste of public resources.

For years, groups as varied as the San Diego County Bar Association, the Washington Humane Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have opposed such laws, arguing that there is no evidence they are effective in preventing dog bite injuries. The most famous of the recently blacklisted dog breeds is the pit bull, but over the years dogs such as German shepherds, Siberian huskies and Chow Chows have also been banned, either by local laws or by insurance companies.

New Law Limits Dog Bite Liability for Cities, Not Dog Owners

On Monday, Governor Brown signed AB 265 into law in an effort to make it more attractive for California cities and towns to set up off-leash dog parks by limiting their liability for any injuries caused by dog bites. While it is essential to make sure that people who are seriously injured by dogs have access to fair compensation for their injuries and financial losses, the proposal may not seriously threaten that objective.

Dogs are a fact of life. People have been living with domesticated dogs for thousands of years, and it’s unlikely that will end anytime soon. But dog bites, too, are an omnipresent danger. But how can one balance the needs of dogs and dog owners against the danger of serious injuries from bites?

Child Killed at Escondido Church

A child was killed in Escondido, California on July 29, 2013 at Church of the Resurrection on Conway Drive. The Church has various events on site during the week. On Monday evening at approximately 6:45 pm many adults and children were present at the Church. According to news reports a golf cart that is used by the Church maintenance staff and others was left by the front of the parish hall in the area where people were gathering.

Hayward to Pay $1.5 Mln for Wrongful Death From Police Dog Bite

The City of Hayward up in Alameda County has agreed to settle a civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit with the family of an 89-year-old man who died as a result of complications from an apparently completely unprovoked police dog attack. The city will pay the man’s family $1.5 million in compensation for being savagely bitten by a K9 officer while he was innocently puttering around in his back yard.

According to reports, three police officers and a K9 were investigating an alleged armed robbery at a local Domino’s Pizza. The dog encountered a scent trail leading to a nearby industrial park, which happens to share an eight-foot-high wall with a mobile home park where the victim lived. Shortly before 11:00 p.m., the officers reportedly lifted the dog over that wall and commanded it to keep tracking the suspect. Instead, the dog encountered the innocent man.

Man Nearly Loses Arm in Dog Attack

A man in Des Moines, Iowa is currently recovering after a savage dog attack nearly cost him his right arm.

Thomas Krengel, a 62-year-old Des Moines man, had been staying with a friend on the city's north side since early May. On June 12, the friend's two chow chows, Monte and Chico, attacked him.

According to a statement by Krengel, he had let the dogs outside in the early evening and was attempting to bring them back into the house when the attack occurred. The two dogs were copulating and were resisting his efforts to lead them inside. When Krengel stepped in to physically break up the dogs, the male bit him and the female joined in the attack soon after. Krengel says he protected his throat with his arm, which the dogs bit and shook violently.

Insurers Are Taking Steps to Limit Their Liability for Dog Bites

If you live in California and own a dog, you should know that you can be held financially responsible for the cost of any injury your dog may cause, including dog bite injuries. Most people are able to manage that potential for liability, however, because dog bites are typically covered by homeowners and renters insurance.

That insurance is expensive for insurers, however, and they're taking active steps to limit their exposure to such claims. According to the Insurance Information Institute, claims from dog bites make up more than a third of all homeowners insurance claims. In 2012, the organization says, insurers paid out 16,500 dog bite claims, and the total compensation owed to victims was $489 million. For a single insurer, 451 of those claims were in California -- and dog bite victims in our state were paid a total of $17,111,297 that year by State Farm alone.

Most insurance companies still do insure homeowners and renters for dog bite liability, typically offering policies ranging from $100,000 to $300,000 in coverage. Whenever a dog bite victim's claim exceeds the coverage amount, however, the dog's owner is responsible for any additional damages, which sometimes includes the victim's legal expenses.

Man Left in Handcuffs After 56 Dog Bites and Witness Exoneration

A Northern California man has filed a federal lawsuit against Contra Costa County, the cities of Oakley and Pittsburg, California, and an individual Oakley officer he claims sicced a police dog on him in the course of an armed robbery investigation in which the man was just a bystander. The man was simply walking home from work when he was taken as a suspect and then deliberately attacked and repeatedly bitten by a police dog.

The dog bit the innocent man 56 times on his back, arms, face and a leg in what appears to have been a pretty straightforward case of undue force by the officers, if the man's allegations are true.

According to the lawsuit, the man was walking home from his job as a hotel handyman and happened to cross paths with the Oakley police officer who was on the lookout for a man who had just committed an alleged armed robbery at a nearby liquor store. Ostensibly believing the handyman was the suspected armed robber, the officer pulled up in a police cruiser and got out, bringing along his K9 partner. He then ordered the handyman to lie down on the ground.

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