Earlier this week, a 6-year-old boy from the San Francisco Bay area died of wounds he sustained from a dog bite at a relative’s home. According to the Sacramento Bee, the boy, Nephi Selu, had been visiting his grandparents’ home in Union City when their dog, a 2-year-old pit bull or pit bull mix, bit the top of Selu’s head.
Dog bite injuries can be very serious, and they’re often fatal. While certain breeds have a reputation for attacks, these accidents remain common throughout California. Many dogs have the jaw strength to break bones, and even in best-case-scenario accidents, puncture wounds are deep and infections occur frequently. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, it’s important to speak to an experienced dog bite lawyer. Under California law, you may be eligible for compensation.
Friendly Dogs and Fatal Bites
According to friends and neighbors, the dog in this fatal accident had seemed friendly. In fact, a neighbor described the boy’s death as “such a shame,” remarking that “the dog always appeared very friendly.” The dog hadn’t been in any prior biting incidents, and the owner insisted that it hadn’t shown signs of violence. The boy’s aunt, Iona Keanaaina, described the dog as being “good with kids” and “very obedient.” So what happened? According to he Union City Police Commander Ben Horner, the boy may have been trying to ride the dog, “like a little horse.”
After Selu had been bitten, a relative “pulled the dog off the boy,” said Horner. According to the family’s attorney, the boy was “coherent, conscious, and talking for hours after being bitten.” As a result, the family “assumed he would be fine after a couple of stitches,” according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. However, the boy died from those injuries at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, where emergency crews transported him after the dog bite.
The story in the San Francisco Chronicle suggests that dog bite injuries can happen to anyone. The family’s attorney emphasized that “the breed of dog is irrelevant,” since the dog involved in this tragedy had “been part of the family for several years and had exhibited no signs of aggression whatsoever.”
While any dog breed can be involved in a fatal attack, pit bulls do account for a majority of attacks, according to the director of the nonprofit Dogs Bite in Texas.
Dog Bite Cases in California News
The death of Nephi Selu is just one of many in a string of dog bite fatalities in California. In most of these cases, pit bulls or pit bull mixes have bitten and killed a member of that family that owned them.
For example, in 2011, Darla Napora, a 32-year-old pit bull owner in Pacifica, was fatally attacked by her dog. Napora had been pregnant at the time of the mauling.
Other cases highlight the particular susceptibility of children to dog attacks. In 2010, 2-year-old Jacob Bisbee was killed by three pit bulls at his relative’s home in Concord. Five years earlier, 12-year-old Nicholas Faibish was fatally attacked by his family’s two pit bulls at their home in San Francisco.
Attacks against children may be more common since dogs often don’t know how to treat children. In fact, children make up 60 percent of all dog bite victims, and children are more likely to suffer fatal injuries given their small size and stature. Experts emphasize that most in-home bites can be prevented by closely monitoring children when they’re playing with dogs.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries from a dog bite, an experienced personal injury attorney can speak to you today about your case. Don’t hesitate to contact us.