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THE ANATOMY OF A DOG BITE CASE – CHAPTER 1

THE ANATOMY OF A DOG BITE CASE – CHAPTER 1

An attorney entered a bloody scene at a home in Santa Ana, California. He was summoned there by the homeowner’s confidant. He saw a child crying hysterically in the corner with a lady who appeared to be his grandma attempting to console him. The attorney inspected the scene looking for clues as to what happened. Was this an accident? Was there a death? Did someone slip, fall and bash their head onto the freshly mopped floor? Where are the police officers? Why is there a lawyer here?

 

The lawyer was called because there was an accident, but an accident that could have been avoided. It turns out, grandma’s 75-pound pit bull savagely mangled a 7-year-old little girl who lived at the house. The blood was hers. The child crying in the corner was her brother. He was no more than 4 years old and had witnessed the entire thing.

 

The lawyer asked the grandma what had occurred. With tears in her eyes, she replied that a dog bit her granddaughter. The lawyer reminded the grandma that this was just an accident but the lawyer needed to know exactly what occurred. The grandma admitted she was in the kitchen when the dog bit the girl and only the small boy witnessed it. A key fact. The two children were left unsupervised with a pit bull. The lawyer asked whether the pitbull was confined or tied. The grandma, with a look of self-disgust, nodded her head no.  So, there was a dog breed known for aggressive propensities unconfined and unrestrained with two small children, unsupervised. Not good.

 

Suddenly, the phone rang. The grandma answered and handed the attorney the phone after a brief conversation. It was the family friend who called the attorney in the first place to check on things. The attorney informed the man he just arrived and spoke to the grandma and was preparing to question the young child, but needed a parent to be present. The mother of the girl who was bitten by the dog gave the attorney permission to speak to the boy. The lawyer, however, stated it would be best if the parents were present. The parents understood and said one of the parents would be home soon. One had to remain at the hospital because the girl needed reconstructive surgery to repair her mangled hand. The dog bit so deep, he bit through her hand and ripped out her pinky and ring fingers. The poor girl would be in the emergency room for a few days at least to recover.

 

The lawyer then questioned the grandma about the dog. The grandma stated the dog was taken to the pound by animal control. The dog did in fact have a prior dog bite incident with a United States postal worker. However, the postal worker, a big dog lover, did not report the dog and claimed it was a stray that ran off. If a dog had prior incidents biting others, it could be subject to euthanization. The postal worker did the grandma a big favor. The grandma did not tell Animal Control, who took the dog, about the prior dog bite. Besides these two incidents, the grandma claimed the dog was well behaved and would not hurt a fly. Clearly, the grandma was looking at the dog through rose-colored glasses. The dog was a menace and a big liability.

 

The lawyer relayed what the parents had said about the girl needing surgery to the grandma. The lawyer stated he hoped the little girl’s surgery was successful and they could reattach her fingers. That is when grandma said that was impossible. When the dog bit her hand, he bit her fingers off and swallowed them whole. She ran to the kitchen brought two little fingers which she pulled from the dog’s feces and had washed. Just another day in Santa Ana, California.