Pit Bull Sends Mother and Son to the Hospital
Dog bites can be sudden, unprovoked, and brutal. As unpredictable and sudden as they can strike, they can be difficult if not impossible to stop. When a child was attacked recently, his mother was unable to stop the attack alone.
A Bike, A Bite, and A Broom
A nine-year-old boy was riding his bike near his Fort Lauderdale home one Saturday afternoon when a pit bull approached the child. Without any provocation– as confirmed by witnesses– the Cane Corso hound aggressively circled the boy and leapt at his back, causing him to fall off his bike. His mother, watching nearby, tried to stop the attack by brandishing a broom, but the dog bit the child in his left arm, then his right leg, then his left shoulder. Trying to extricate her son from the attack, the mother was also bitten twice. Finally, one of her neighbors intervened. The community college student, who is studying criminal justice, was able to restrain the dog using a belt.
The scene was cleared eventually, but the driveway was stained with blood. Both mother and son were hospitalized, and friends noted that “they will be in the hospital for a while.” The dog was eventually quarantined and is being held by animal control to test for rabies. The owner was cited for failing to keep the dog’s vaccines current. Further, the dog must wear a muzzle until further notice, and the owner is now required to undergo a civil hearing as a special victims unit investigates the case.
Florida Law Holds the Owner Responsible
However, the muzzle and the fine are unlikely to compensate this family for the physical and psychological trauma they have suffered. Under Florida law, any dog owner is responsible for a dog bite even if the dog was not previously vicious. Therefore, this dog owner’s claim that the dog had never bitten anyone before is not a defense. Dog owners can generally try to defend themselves by claiming that the dog bit a trespasser, or that the dog bit someone lawfully on the owner’s property, but with a “Bad Dog” sign displayed. In this case, however, the child was on his own property.
Similarly, dog owners can try to claim that the dog was provoked, to attempt to reduce the amount paid to the victims; but in this case, witnesses confirmed that the boy did not provoke the dog. It is not necessary to prove that the owner was negligent in letting the dog escape, although in this case, upon current information, the owner was not present and had left a door ajar. Accordingly, the mother and son can file a civil lawsuit and, if the facts above can be demonstrated in court, they could prevail.
This is far from the first pit bull attack in Florida. In one case, a woman’s face was attacked by a pit bull as she attempted the “ice bucket challenge.” She even posted the video to “shame her sister” for failing to properly train the dog. In another case, two boys were playing in their yard when a pit bull tore into the child’s calf, causing serious injuries. As the community college student who saved the woman and her son said, “it’s not that [these dogs] are vicious,” but rather, “it’s the way people train them.” That’s another reason why the owners should be held responsible for their actions. If you have been injured by a dog, contact Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney Scott Newmark for help with your case.