Articles Posted in Dog Bites

Outside the United States, legislation that restricts ownership of certain dog breeds is quite common, according to a recent article in the Sacramento Bee. For instance, in the United Kingdom, lawmakers enacted the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 after a pit bull terrier mauled a 6-year-old girl. That law restricts ownership of pit bulls as well as other breeds identified as particularly “dangerous” in order to prevent dog bites. In addition, it requires that dogs be “muzzled in public at all times.” Could a similar law end up governing dog ownership and responsibilities in California?


Fatal Dog Attacks Becoming More Common

In California and across the country, fatal dog bite injuries seem to be happening with more frequency. As the Sacramento Bee article points out, the terrible dog attack in Modesto, in which an elderly woman sustained serious injuries and her son was killed by several pit bulls, is a story that has become all too common. Indeed, according to, every day around 1,000 people in the U.S. must visit an emergency room in order to receive care for a dog bite injury.

Many Californians own dogs, but it’s important to remember that dogs can be very dangerous when they bite. Indeed, a dog bite injury can quickly become infected, resulting in severe and life-threatening complications. If you or your child sustained injuries in a dog bite accident, you shouldn’t wait to speak with an experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer. You may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries.


Recent California Dog Bite Injuries in the News

According to a recent report from ABC News, a Modesto, California woman was mauled by four pit bulls, and her son died while trying to save her life. The victim, Maria Fernandez, 77, heard her son out back and saw that four pit bulls had attacked her son. “They were all around him,” she explained. Trying to help her son fend off the animal attack, she “tried to chase them with a broom,” but the dogs then attacked Maria. Her 54-year-old son, Juan Fernandez, managed to get away from the animals, but he came back to save his mother’s life.

Insurance Policies and Dog-Inflicted Damage

How often do severe dog bite injuries occur?  According to a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek, dog bite claims are on the rise across the country.  To be sure, data collected by the Insurance Information Institute showed that insurance claims related to animal attack injuries rose by nearly six percent last year, for a total of 17,359 claims.  This figure set a new record established back in 2003.

Across the country last year, aAmerican-Pit-Bull-Terrierverage dog bite insurance claims resulted in payments of about $28,000.  That is up by nearly 45 percent over the last ten years.  And to give this figure another spin, dog bite claims account for more than 33 percent of “all homeowners insurance liability-claim dollars paid out in 2013.”

More Dog Bite Claims in California Than Any Other State

Have you ever been attacked by a dog? According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, California sees more dog bite claims than any other state in the U.S. In fact, in 2013 alone, California insurance companies received a total of 1,919 claims for dog bite injuries that ended up costing them $64.7 million. Based on data collected by the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm in a recent report, that’s the highest cost of claims in America.

And dog bite insurance claims are on the rise everywhere. Across the country, insurance companies ended up paying out a total of $484 million for dog bite injury claims in 2013, and the total number of claims actually rose by 5.5 percent from 2012. According to the article, “encounters with Fido account for more than one-third of liability costs for homeowners insurance.” A spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute indicated that the average claim cost has risen “more than 45 percent in the last decade.”

Are San Diego residents at risk of dog bite injuries? More than fifty percent of California households own dogs, according to data collected by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA). And according to the Humane Society, homes across the U.S. have more than 83 million dogs as family pets. While we don’t like to think about the dangers posed by domestic animals, dog bites occur with some frequency in Southern California. In fact, the U.S. Postal Services lists each “ten worst cities for dog attacks” each year, and three major metropolitan areas in California made the list. As such, the AVMA and local veterinary offices are hoping to advocate for dog bite prevention in San Diego, according to a report from San Diego’s local CBS 8 News.


Have you or a loved one sustained a dog bite injury? Animal attacks can happen without warning, and they can produce life-threatening injuries, particularly when children are involved. If you were bitten by a dog, it’s important to have experienced legal counsel on your side. Contact an experienced San Diego dog bite lawyer at the Walton Law Firm today.

Veterinarians Hope to Prevent Dog Attacks

Many of us have family pets, and we often assume that domestic dogs are safe around children. However, dog bite accidents happen more frequently than we might think. A recent article in NBC News San Diego reported that a dog owner was recently arrested in connection with an animal attack incident at a Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Murrieta.


A dog bite or an animal attack can cause severe and often life-threatening injuries. If you or a loved one recently sustained injuries due to a dog attack, it’s important to speak to an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer. You may be eligible for financial compensation.

Details of the Murrieta Dog Attack

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

A 22-year-old woman was arrested on October 9 after her pit bull attacked a 4-year-old girl in National City. Brittany Gardiner was walking her pit bull in an apartment complex when a 4-year-old girl approached. The child asked if she could pet Gardiner’s dog. The roughly 65-pound dog attacked the child, biting her face. It took four men and Gardiner quite a while to pry the dog away from the child. They punched and kicked the dog, and even hit it repeatedly with a rock until it let go.

Gardiner attempted to flee. She ran upstairs to her apartment with her dog, grabbed her keys, got in her car, and tried to pull out of the parking lot. The police came and blocked her in. She was arrested and charged with child endangerment, resisting police, and allowing a vicious animal to inflict injury. The dog was impounded. It will undergo rabies testing and will likely be euthanized.

The child was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, where she was admitted in serious condition with injuries to her face and upper body. By the same night, she was listed in fair condition.

Yet another pit bull strikes and causes a death – this time the death of an eight-month-old baby. According to an article in the U-T San Diego, Tyzhel McWilliams died last Thursday evening after being bitten by Zulu, a three-year-old pit bull that lived in the same apartment. The death of Tyzhel is currently being investigated by sheriff’s detectives. No arrests have been made in the case. Our experienced San Diego dog bite injury lawyer knows that it is common for children to fall victim to dog bites. According to the county Department of Animal Services, of the 2,746 dog bites that were reported to the agency since July 1st, 425 were to children aged 12 and under.

pitbull.jpgIn this particular case, Tyzhel’s mother had moved in with a girlfriend who had three male pit bulls about two years ago. Zulu was among the three pit bulls that the girlfriend owned. When Tyzhel was born, the mother had no objections to allowing the dogs to interact with her baby. Until this tragic incident, there had been no occurrences of rough play with the dogs and Tyzhel. On the day of the incident, Tyzhel was playing in the living room while his mother and the girlfriend were talking in a bedroom across the hall. Zulu was in the bedroom with them. At some point, Tyzhel crawled into the bedroom and Zulu suddenly and unexpectedly bit him on the head. The baby died in the hospital later that evening.

The other dogs were not involved in the incident, but to exercise proper precautions, the three dogs were impounded at the Chula Vista Animal Care Facility. Upon release, Zulu was euthanized, while the other two dogs were returned back to the owner. The incident comes as a shock to both the mother and the owner of the dogs since there had been no prior occurrences of violence. According to both women, the dogs were always friendly and well-behaved.

Dog bites surprisingly cost insurance companies a significant sum of money. According to an article on MSNBC, the Insurance Information Institute conducted a study which revealed that in 2011, insurance companies were liable for about $479 million for injuries resulting from dog bites. Our experienced San Diego dog bite injury lawyer is aware that the payouts for dog bite incidents are traditionally covered under homeowner’s liability policies.

dog%20bite%20-%205.jpgThe study by the Insurance Information Institute further revealed that since 2003, there was a slight decline in the number of dog bite claims. However, this does not necessarily result in a lower liability cost for insurance companies. Unfortunately for insurance companies, the cost per dog bite claim has risen 54 percent since 2003. The logical reasoning for these sharp increases is that over the years medical costs have risen and the dollar amount awarded to plaintiffs – whether a settlement, judgment or jury award – has similarly increased.

Another possible cause for these rising cost of claims paid out by insurance companies may be the popularity of certain breeds of dogs that tend to have a dangerous propensity. Specifically, despite their rough demeanor, pit bulls have gained the affection of a large portion of dog owners in the United States. The popularity of a breed that is more likely to showcase violent behavior has resulted in an influx of dog bite incidents. A study published in the Annals of Surgery in April 2011 concluded that “attacks by pit bills are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs.”

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