This morning a Moreno Valley boy lost part of his ear after a large dog attacked him and his mother as they walked through their neighborhood. According to the KTLA news story, the 6-year-old was walking alongside his mother who was pushing a stroller carrying her younger child at the time of the attack. The tragic incident reportedly occurred at approximately 11:40 a.m. near the intersection of Indian Avenue and Myers Avenue. The 120-pound dog apparently escaped from its yard and attacked the family. The 6-year-old lost part of his ear and suffered a bite to the back of his head. Paramedics rushed the boy to a nearby hospital for emergency medical treatment. Following the attack, Moreno Valley Animal Control Services arrived and seized the dog, which is now subject to euthanasia.
See the KTLA story and photograph HERE.
Dog attacks like the one above happen with alarming frequency, in spite of the fact that nearly every municipality has laws in place to deter dog owners from allowing their animals out of their yards, even unintentionally. In fact, the Moreno Valley Municipal Code (Section 10.02.080, entitled "At Large or Stray Animals") makes it unlawful "... for the owner of any animal, other than a cat, to allow such animal to run at large within the city." The Municipal Code also makes it a misdemeanor if the animal "inflicts injury to any human or animal, or threatens public health or safety". In the case above, the owner of the dog may well have criminal culpability because of the injury to the little boy. Beyond that, the boy's family has the right to bring a civil action against the owner on behalf of the 6-year-old. Under California law, the court may allow a "guardian ad litem" to bring an action for the benefit of a minor child. This would allow the guardian, usually a parent, to seek damages for their child, and money would be made available for medical needs, including any plastic surgery that may be required in the future. In any case in which a settlement is reached between the parties (assuming the settlement is above $5,000.00), the court is called upon to determine whether the settlement is in the best interests of the child. In making such a decision, the court takes into account a number of factors including the injury sustained, the medical expenses incurred, future medical needs and the pain and suffering the child has and/or will endure.
Compensation for the victims of vicious dog attacks should be an important concern for all Californians. When an innocent child is attacked and seriously injured, the dog’s owner should be held accountable for all of the injuries and damages suffered. An Orange County dog bite attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a family member been the victim of a dog bite or attack?
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.