Yet Another San Diego County Pit Bull Attack, This Time a Postal Carrier
Today there is yet another story of a pit bull attacking a person, this time an Escondido postal carrier. According to the North County Times the female mail carrier was delivering the mail when the dog escaped through a partially opened garage door and attacked, biting her legs several times. As of this writing, she is still hospitalized. The dog was put down.
Just last week Walton Law Firm was hired by another dog bite victim, also involving a pit bull, and also causing serious injuries. In this case, two pit bulls were playing in a park, off leash, when they attacked another dog. When the owner of the innocent dog tried to intervene, she was bitten badly.
Pit bulls have been the subject of considerable scrutiny in recent years because of so many high profile attacks, including a fatal attack in San Diego just last year. Pit Bull defenders are always quick to accuse individual owners for the conduct of the dangerous dogs, and argue that pit bulls can be friendly, social family pets if they are raised right.
There is no question that the owners in all dog bite cases bear a huge responsibility for the conduct of their dogs, and it often the untrained (or aggressively trained) dog that is involved in bite incidents. But in nearly every dog bite case we have had at Walton Law Firm - whether it involves a Pekinese or a Pit Bull - the owner of the biting dog has said (often under oath) that their dog was always friendly, never show any dangerous propensities, and that he or she was a surprised as anyone that the dog attacked. That's a scary thought when considering the potential for serious harm by larger breeds like pit bulls.
It's time for pit bull breeders and owners to police their own. Yes, there are plenty of different breeds involved in bite incidents, and there are other dogs, like pit bulls, that can inflict serious harm upon a human. But it's the pit bulls causing the most damage. Breeders need to be more cautions in selling dogs to unqualified owners (frequently a 20-something male with self-esteem issues), and following up with owners to check on the socialization of their dogs. While it's no doubt true that pit bulls raised by the right owners can be loving, friendly, and harmless family pets, if something isn't done to stem the growing incidents of pit bull attacks, sooner or later the government will step in and make sure no one owns a pit bull ever again.
UPDATE: It is being reported today that the postal carrier who was bitten by a pit bull in Escondido has died. The mail carrier, Diane Jansen, has apparently died of a hemorrhagic stroke. The question on everyone's mind is, Did the dog bite cause or contribute to the stroke? Under the law, a tortfeasor is liability for all the damages caused by an event. If the incident of a dog bite was determined to be a "substantial factor" in bringing about Ms. Jansen's death, then the owners of the pit bill will be held responsible.
How do you prove this? Typically, with medical experts who will (or will not) make the connection. It's hard to imagine that the trauma caused by the bite didn't trigger the stroke. If that is ultimately the case, then the heirs of Ms. Jansen will have a viable case for wrongful death under California law.
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