According to a KTLA news report, a pit bull mix and a boxer mix are in the custody of animal control officials after severely mauling a 71-year-old woman and two men at a park in Wilmington yesterday.  The attacks happened near Wilmington Park Elementary School on the 1100 block on Coli Avenue shortly after students were dismissed for the day.  Alfredo Ramos, 35, and his 71-year-old mother-in-law, Rita Torres, said they were attacked by the two dogs as they were returning home from picking up his son and another child from the school.  The two dogs, a male pit bull terrier and Akita mix and a boxer and American bulldog mix, were reportedly roaming free on the sidewalk at the time of the attack.  The dogs then ran to a nearby park where they apparently attacked another man sitting on a park bench.

See the full KTLA story and photos HERE.

Under California law, a dog owner is strictly liable when their animal attacks someone, whether the attack occurs on or off the owner's property.  In other words, dog owners are liable for attacks even if they were not negligent.  In this regard, California Civil Code Section 3342, provides in part:

The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner ...when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner...

In spite of this statute, a dog owner may defend a dog bite claim on the grounds that the victim assumed the risk of injury by provoking the attack or was somehow comparatively negligent in their conduct.  In the story above, there is no suggestion any of the victims provoked these vicious attacks or in some way assumed the risk of their injuries.

Compensation for the victims of serious or fatal dog bites is an important concern for all Californians.  When a victim is attacked and badly injured or even killed, the dog’s owner should be held accountable for any injuries and damages sustained.  An Orange County personal injury attorney with experience at handling such dog bite cases can make a fair assessment of these claims.  Mr. Ralph has 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type.  Mr. Ralph can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Have you or a family member been a victim of a dog bite?

  • Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above.  This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter.  A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.