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Neighbor’s Dogs Bite, Severely Injure 10-Year-Old Antioch, California Boy

The California press has widely covered the story of a young Antioch boy on a visit to a neighbor child to play video games when the guest was badly bitten on the right side of his face and head, and on his arm, allegedly by the neighbor’s two pit bulls. The frightening August 2013 incident that occurred on a staircase resulted in the need for more than 100 stitches to close severe wounds on the boy’s face, including those involving a partially severed ear and damaged eyelid. He also received a skin graft.

In addition to his physical injuries, the boy reportedly experiences anxiety and bad dreams since the incident. Indeed, younger victims of dog attacks are known to sometimes suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

The boy’s young friend was also injured trying to remove his family’s dogs during the attack.

Authorities took the dogs to a local shelter pending an official decision about their fate. Many in the community wanted them euthanized, which was eventually ordered in September by a city appeals board that found the dogs to be dangerous. Reportedly, the dog owners fought the ruling, alleging that only one of the dogs was involved.

California Dog Bite Liability

California statute makes dog owners strictly liable for dog bite injuries caused by their canines in most situations. Strict liability means that the owner is liable even if that owner was in no way at fault, took precautions to protect others from the dog, did not know the dog could be vicious or never had seen the dog bite before.

The law provides that:

  • A dog owner is strictly liable for injuries when the dog bites someone who is in a public place or legally in a private place, including on the owner’s own property.
  • A dog bite victim is legally on the dog owner’s property when the victim is performing a duty imposed by state or federal law, or has been expressly or impliedly invited onto the property by the owner.
  • Different standards apply to a dog used in police or military work.

Some dog injuries fall outside of the strict liability dog bite statute such as when a dog injures someone in a different way than a bite like a knock down or scratch, the person controlling a biting dog is not the owner, or the defendant is a landlord who knew of the dog’s propensities and took no steps to remove it or protect visitors. In those cases and other similar situations, a traditional personal injury lawsuit can still be brought in California.

Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney About Dog Bite Injuries

A Californian who is injured by a dog or whose child or other loved one is bitten or mauled, should speak with an experienced dog bite attorney for advice about his or her potential legal remedies, like a personal injury lawsuit. A California personal injury lawyer can help the dog bite victim deal with the involved insurance companies, which can be crucial. Legal counsel with dog bite experience can also launch an investigation of the incident in question as well as gather all relevant evidence.

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