Articles Posted in Dog Bite/Attack

According to the mother of Amanda Mitchell, the 7-year-old girl will likely have to undergo several surgeries for the severe facial injuries she sustained when she was attacked by two American Bull Dogs earlier this month. The two dogs have been put down.

Baltimore County Police say that Mitchell was riding her bicycle when the two dogs got out of a neighbor’s yard and attacked her. On ABC2news.com, her mom Shelda Lambert is quoted as saying that her daughter’s “whole face ripped away.” Lambert also got hurt during the Maryland dog attack as she tried to fight the dogs off her daughter.

While no criminal charges are being filed against Tina Baker, the dog’s owner, she has been fined $3,600 over numerous citations.

Facial Injuries and Dog Bites

According to the California Surgical Institute, dog bites are the cause of about 44,000 facial injuries annually. 60% of the victims are usually small kids. Because of their small size and height, kids’ faces are easy for dogs to reach. Examples of dog bite injuries to the face:

• Fractures
• Eye damage
• Puncture wounds
• Nerve damage
• Jaw injuries
• Scarring
• Disfigurement

Each state has its own law when it comes to holding a dog owner liable for injuries inflicted by an animal. Dog owners can be held liable for a Maryland dog attack by a dog considered dangerous. A dog doesn’t need to have injured anyone before to fall under the dangerous dog category. Aggressive behavior alone can be a sign that the animal may pose a danger to others.

Dogs Attack Baltimore County Girl, WBALTV, March 13, 2011
Dog owners defend pit bulls after an attack on a 7-year-old girl, ABC, March 14, 2011
Related Web Resources:

Dog Bite Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dog Bites, Nolo
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Dog Bites off Part of Anne Arundel County Police Officer’s Ear, Maryland Accident Lawyer, November 3, 2008
Pit Bull Attacks 18-Month-Old Maryland Boy at Day Care Home in Aberdeen, Maryland Accident Lawyer, August 20, 2008
East Baltimore Woman Is Victim of Pit Bull Attack, Maryland Accident Lawyer, June 26, 2007

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The family of Charla Nash, the woman who was mauled by a chimpanzee, is suing the owner of the pet primate for personal injury. In their $50 million personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiffs are accusing Sandra Herold of recklessness and negligence due to her inability to control her 200-pound pet and subdue it if necessary. They also accuse Herold, 70, of inviting Nash to her home while knowing that the chimp, Travis, was agitated.

Nash, 55, had come to Herold’s home to help her lure the primate back into the residence. Their plan, however, went awry when Travis began mauling Nash. Travis also attacked one of the police officers who came to the scene. He eventually shot Travis dead. The officer was treated for trauma. Herold, who was also injured while trying to get Travis off Nash, was hospitalized for her injuries.

The 12-minute attack left Nash without her nose, eyelids, hands, and lips, crushed a number of her facial bones, and left her with brain damage and possible blindness. One month after the attack, she remains in critical condition.

In Maryland, an Anne Arundel County cop lost part of his ear on Thursday when he bitten by a neighbor’s dog. Officer Michael McDermott, who was off-duty, was rescuing the dog when the unfortunate incident happened.

McDermott had pulled the dog out from under a fallen tree when it slipped its snout from from a makeshift muzzle and bit off part of the police officer’s ear. The dog died soon after of its injuries. McDermott was treated for his injuries at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 4.7 million people are the victims of dog attacks each year, with nearly 800,000 of these bites serious enough to require medical care. 368,000 people a year will visit a hospital emergency room for treatment of injuries sustained in a dog attack or mauling.

Examples of serious dog bite injuries:

• Facial disfigurement
• Severed limbs
• Internal injuries
• Mental or emotional trauma
• Death

Depending on the victim’s injuries, reconstructive surgery and other painful procedures may be warranted. The victim may also have to undergo additional trauma, such as having to go out in public with a disfigured face or other severe scars that may not fully heal.

In Maryland, dog owners can be held liable for personal injury caused by their pets. However, the degree to which the owner knew or should have known that a dog could hurt someone is a factor in determining whether reasonable care was exercised to prevent the pet from causing injury.

Arundel officer loses part of ear to dog he pulled from under tree, Baltimore Sun, October 31, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Cat and Dog Bites, Family Doctor.org
Dog Bite Liability, Insurance Information Institute

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An 18-month boy sustained serious injuries on Monday after a pit bull bit him. The dog attack happened at the home of a day care provider in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Demetrious Allen had to undergo surgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center to treat deep bite wounds he sustained to his head after the dog tore his scalp. The animal let go of the child after the day care provider called his name. A neighbor applied pressure to the boy’s head while the provider contacted 911.

The day care provider says that she did not see the toddler go out the back door and into the yard. She was in the bathroom when the dog attack begun. Allen, who has been released from the hospital suffered no permanent brain damage. Police say the daycare home will not face criminal charges.

The dog, a male pit bull, belongs to the son of the day care provider. The dog had been penned in a fenced in yard. The day care provider told law enforcement officers that the animal had been with children before and had never attacked anyone.

This latest attack by a pit bull continues to raise concerns about whether the breed is dangerous to humans. In Baltimore, a one-year-old’s face was mauled by the family’s pit bull. Another 7-year-old was hospitalized after being bitten by a pit bull. In Prince George’s County, pit bulls have been banned following several attacks.

Premises Liability

Property owners and managers can be held liable for personal injury if he or she allowed an unsafe condition or hazard to exist on a premise that could have been repaired or eliminated and someone is injured as a result.

In Maryland, our Aberdeen dog bite lawyers represent victims that have been attacked by dogs on other people’s properties. We also represent clients injured in premises liability cases involving inadequate security, slip and fall accidents, products liability, and falling merchandise.

Toddler Released From Hospital After Dog Attack, WJZ.com, August 19, 2008
Boy in day care bitten by pit bull, BaltimoreSun.com, August 18, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Dog Bite Law, Animallaw.info
Premises Liability Overview, Justia

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The Baltimore County Council has vetoed legislation that would have place strict limits on pit bull owners in Baltimore County, Maryland. The measure, introduced by Council member Vincent J. Gardina, would have force pit bull owners to keep their dogs in concrete-based kennels and post warning signs on their front lawns. Pit bulls would have had to be muzzled anytime they were outside their kennels.

Gardina had proposed the legislation after a 10-year old boy from Towson was mauled by a pit bull. The boy stayed at a hospital for two weeks while he recovered from his dog mauling injuries.

Animal rights groups and dog owners that had protested heavily against the measure had cited the violation of dog owners’ rights. They also questioned whether the measure would actually prevent dog attacks from occurring—especially as there are dogs belonging to many breeds other than pit bulls that have been known to attack adults and children with little provocation. In addition to American Pit Bulls, the measure would have also applied to the American Staffordshire terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, any mixes of these breeds.

Those who supported the measure, however, cited reports showing that even though dogs from other breeds have been known to attack people, pit bulls are responsible for many of the attacks. The CDC says that out of the reported 238 dog maulings that took place between 1979 and 1998, pit bulls were responsible for 66 of the attacks.

If you or your child has sustained injuries because of an attack by a dog or another animal that belongs to someone else in Maryland or Washington D.C., you should speak to an experienced dog bite injury attorney immediately.

Deadly Dog Bite Statistics:

• 12-15 people die annually from dog-related injuries.
• Pit bulls and rottweilers are responsible for many dog-related deaths.
• 65% of deadly dog attacks take place because a dog was not chained on the owner’s premise.
• 3,423 postal workers were attacked by dogs in 2003.
• Dog bites are the second cause of injuries to children on playgrounds.

• The majority of children-related dog bite injuries occur on the face.

Baltimore County Council Rejects Pit Bull Limits, WBAL.com, October 16, 2007
Proposal takes aim at pit bull maulings, Baltimore Sun, October 8, 2007
Animal and Dog Bite Statistics, Lawcore.com

Related Web Resources:

Maryland Dog Bite Law

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Police say that the man who was attacked by actor Ving Rhames’ dogs on the movie star’s property was 40-year-old Jacob Adams. Adams had been living at the Brentwood, California property for around two years where he worked as the dogs’ caretaker.

The exact cause of death is still being investigated. Police are still investigating whether the numerous dog bites on the victim’s body led to him being mauled to death or the man died of heart failure.

An English bulldog and three bull mastiffs have been seized from the property. Rhames, who costarred in the Mission Impossible movies with Tom Cruise, was not home when the mauling took place.

If the caretaker did die because of the dog bites, he would be at least the 14th victim this year to have been killed by a dog in the U.S. About 25-30 dog mauling-related deaths take place in the U.S. each year.

Dog bites can be extremely painful and cause serious injury or death to the victim. A person who is attacked by the dog owned by another person might have grounds to file a personal injury claim, a dog bite lawsuit, a wrongful death case, or an unsafe premises/premises liability claim against the negligent party.

Peteducation.com offers a number of suggestions for reducing the chances of your dog biting someone, including the following:

• Spay or neuter your dog. Spayed or neutered dogs are three times less likely to bite than intact dogs.
• Socialize your dog. Introduce your dog to many different types of people and situations.
• Train your dog. Participating in puppy socialization and dog training classes is an excellent way to help you and your dog learn good obedience skills.
• Teach your dog appropriate behavior. Avoid playing aggressive games with your dog such as wrestling, tug-of-war, or ‘siccing’ your dog on another person. If your dog exhibits dangerous behavior toward any person, particularly toward children, seek professional help.

• Be a responsible dog owner. Obtain a license for your dog as required by law, and provide regular veterinary care, including rabies vaccinations. For everyone’s safety, do not allow your dog to roam.

Police Identify Man Who Died in Dog Attack at Actor Ving Rhames’ Home, Voice of America, August 6, 2007
Caretaker, mauled by dogs, found dead at actor’s home, Los Angeles Times, August 4, 2007
Biting: Causes, Prevention, and Control, Pet Education.com

Related Web Resources:

Dog Bite Law in Maryland

Dog Bite-Related Fatalities, United States, 1995-1996, CDC

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Two pit bulls attacked a woman as she walked close to her home in East Baltimore. The woman, Ruby Pulley, sustained bite injuries on more than 90% of her body. An armed security officer arrived at the scene and shot one of the dogs. The other dog fled to its home.

Pulley, age 53, was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital where her scratches and bites were treated.

In Maryland, a dog owner cannot leave a dog unattended unless the dog is locked in the house or placed in a secure area outdoors where the dog cannot get out. Maryland defines a “dangerous dog” as a dog that has either seriously injured or killed a person or another animal, a dog that attacks others without being provoked, or a dog that authorities have named as “potentially dangerous” and then injures someone.

The rights of a dog bite victim will very depending on the city and state where the dog attack occurred. Dog bite victims can be eligible to file a personal injury claim if a negligent person were responsible for the attack, the dog owner knew that the dog had attacked another person at least one time before this incident, and the dog owner or person in charge of the dog at the time of the attack violated the dog laws in his or her state.

Here is a list of some dog breeds that are commonly considered dangerous:

• Rottweiler
• Pit Bulls
• Akitas
• Boxers
• Doberman Pinschers

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Anne Arundel County Police say that a man told his pit bull to attack a teenage boy on the night of March 16th. The boy and his friend were sitting in a parked car on Farrara Drive in Gambrills, Maryland when the man drove up in his Silver Ford Taurus and asked them if they knew anyone named Andy. Both boys said that they didn’t. The man then got out of his car, opened the boys’ car door and told his pit bull to get them.

The 17-year-old boy sustained a six- to seven-inch cut and small puncture wounds on his left bicep, where he was bitten by the pit bull. The boy drove himself to Nighttime Pediatrics, and from there an ambulance drove him to Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

Maryland places strict liability on a dog’s owner if their dog attacks a person without provocation, whether or not the dog has a prior history of violence.

Citation: MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-619
Statute in Full:
Definitions

(a)(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.

(2) “Dangerous dog” means a dog that:
(i) without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person; or
(ii) is determined by the appropriate unit of a county or municipal corporation under subsection (c) of this section to be a potentially dangerous dog and, after the determination is made:
1. bites a person;
2. when not on its owner’s real property, kills or inflicts severe injury on a domestic animal; or

3. attacks without provocation.

(3)(i) “Owner’s real property” means real property owned or leased by the owner of a dog.

(ii) “Owner’s real property” does not include a public right-of-way or a common area of a condominium, apartment complex, or townhouse development.

(4) “Severe injury” means a physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.
Exception
(b) This section does not apply to a dog owned by and working for a governmental or law enforcement unit.
Determination of potentially dangerous dog
(c) An appropriate unit of a county or municipal corporation may determine that a dog is potentially dangerous if the unit:
(1) finds that the dog:
(i) has inflicted a bite on a person while on public or private real property;
(ii) when not on its owner’s real property, has killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal; or
(iii) has attacked without provocation; and
(2) notifies the dog owner in writing of the reasons for this determination.
Prohibited
(d) A dog owner may not:
(1) leave a dangerous dog unattended on the owner’s real property unless the dog is:
(i) confined indoors;
(ii) in a securely enclosed and locked pen; or
(iii) in another structure designed to restrain the dog; or
(2) allow a dangerous dog to leave the owner’s real property unless the dog is leashed and muzzled, or is otherwise securely restrained and muzzled.
Required notice
(e) An owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog who sells or gives the dog to another shall notify in writing:
(1) the authority that made the determination under subsection (c) of this section, of the name and address of the new owner of the dog; and
(2) the person taking possession of the dog, of the dangerous behavior or potentially dangerous behavior of the dog.
Penalty
(f) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $2,500

Statistically, nearly five million people in the United States are injured every year from a dog attack. Many of these victims are children 10 years of age or younger.

800,000 dog attacks each year result in injuries needing medical care, with about 6,000 victims requiring hospitalization.

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