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Attorneys Representing Dog Attack Victims Across Texas

This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for dog bite injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by animal attacks.

Posts Tagged ‘Pit bull’

A Toddler Suffers a Horrific Facial Attack by a Pit Bull Mix

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Daddy

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On March 15, 2017, in Clinton, Iowa,15-month-old Lucas Harrison was playing with a friend’s pit bull mix that had been adopted from a shelter just two hours before. The pit bull suddenly lunged at the toddler and bit off much of his face. In hundreds of similar pit bull attacks, the dog continues biting and attacking. Based on reports, this one devastating bite was the only one, but the damage done is horrific.

Lucas was transported by medical helicopter to the University of Iowa Childrens’ Hospital. At least three surgeons were involved in an initial 6-hour surgery to re-attach the face. As a result of the pit bull attack, a significant portion of the child’s gum, jaw bone, and permanent teeth were ripped out and most of the cartilage in his nose was destroyed. Doctors say the damage will affect him throughout his lifetime. He won’t have upper front teeth. Doctors hope that dental reconstruction can eventually be done to support false teeth when he is an adult. In the future, Lucas will need further facial surgeries.

The damage done to the toddler’s face is extensive, and the pain associated with his injuries is beyond imagination. The child is receiving care that involves keeping him sedated, to help shield him from the pain.

This tragic incident brings to light the dangers of transporting shelter dogs across state lines. This pit bull mix had been on death row in a Louisiana facility. The dog became a rescue transport, which is a type of operation in which volunteers rescue dogs from various shelters around the country and then move them to other shelters that will accept them.

The dog was advertised as a great dog with a great temperament and was ultimately adopted out on the day of the attack by the Clinton Humane Society.

Graphic images of Lucas are widely posted on the web, and they demonstrate the danger of pit bulls and pit bull mixes. When one of these dogs suddenly and without warning attack and seriously injure or kill someone, invariably, “no one saw it coming.”  This is in spite of the fact that a person in the U.S. is killed by a pit bull or pit bull mix approximately every two weeks, on average, over the past 5 years or so.

–Guest Contributor

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Dogs that Nearly Killed a Young Man Last Year Still Not Surrendered

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

3.5 year old Brindle Pit Bull Terrier

3.5 year old Brindle Pit Bull Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On July 2, 2016, 22-year-old Mitchell Slayden rode his bicycle to an address where a friend of his formerly lived, and it almost cost him his life. In Graves County, Kentucky, Slayden entered the driveway where he believed his friend was. Two pit bulls being kept without restraint at the home viciously attacked him as he tried to leave the property. After being discovered with life-threatening injuries, Slayden was airlifted to a Nashville, Tennessee, hospital. He received extensive treatment  for lacerations to his head, face, arms, and legs. The dogs were quarantined for 10 days and later returned to the owner.

Slayden’s dad gave more graphic details of what happened that day. He said that he discovered his bloodied son in a ditch across from the home he had tried to visit. Slayden was literally covered in dog bites. He has undergone a series of reconstructive surgeries and skin grafts, including repair to his damaged scalp.

As a result of the near deadly pit bull attack on Slayden, the pit bull owner was not penalized in any way, according to an investigation by DogsBite.org. The dogs were released back to his custody, but the owner has allegedly not kept his commitment to keep his pit bulls out of Graves County.

This month a jury in Kentucky found the pit bull owner guilty of harboring a vicious animal. He was not sentenced to any jail time, although the County Attorney had requested a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail. Instead, the man was sentenced to pay a fine of $200. In addition, the dogs are expected to be released to the owner on a future date.

In Texas, same as Kentucky, there doesn’t seem to be enough incentive in the law for people to be careful about protecting the public from pit bulls. This breed has killed one person approximately every two weeks over the past 5 to 10 years. Pit bulls have won the hearts of families across the nation, but there is overwhelming evidence that they are too dangerous and should be banned. Otherwise, more horrific incidents like what Slayden suffered will continue to happen.

–Guest Contributor

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A 79-year-old Florida Man Dies Days after a Vicious Pit Bull Attack

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

1 year old brindle Pit bull mix playing at Fle...

1 year old brindle Pit bull mix playing at Fletcher Elementary School, Serra Mesa neighborhood, San Diego, California. Poncho was very people-friendly, cat-friendly, and dog-friendly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Palm Coast, Florida, on February 19, 2017, 79-year-old James E. Bennett was walking his Yorkshire terrier in his neighborhood complex when a pit bull mix brutally attacked them. Bennett tried to protect his dog, to no avail. His dog was killed and he was severely injured on his right arm. Bennett was hospitalized and later released. He died of a cardiac episode at his home a few days later, on February 24. Witnesses of the brutal scene on February 19 included owners of the attacking dog and a bystander, and details were provided and corroborated.

Helena Karnani, age 58, told the sheriff’s department that she had been walking her pets with her husband when the leash on their 2-year-old pit bull mix broke. The dog began running around and her husband was unable to catch up to him. The pit bull mix immediately charged Bennett and his small dog, once he saw them.

Bennett picked up his dog as the threatening dog approached, and the pit bull mix lunged while still running at them. The dog bit the Yorkie on her back and bit Bennett’s right arm at the same time. According to Karnani, Bennett began hitting the attacking dog with his left hand. The large dog relentlessly lunged until Bennett was knocked to the ground. Bennett lost his grip on the Yorkie. The pit bull quickly snatched up and viciously mauled the small dog.

The pit bull mix was finally brought under control. When police arrived, they found that the Yorkshire did not survive and Bennett was severely wounded. He was taken by ambulance to Florida Hospital Flagler. Bennett’s wife, Sandra, briefly lost consciousness during an anxiety attack at the scene and was taken to the hospital in a second ambulance.

The Karnanis’ voluntarily surrendered their pit bull mix to be euthanized by the humane society.

Bennett returned home after being hospitalized, and it was at home that he suffered an apparent heart attack and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

Pit bulls and pit bull mixes are the only breeds known to attack in ways similar to what occurred in this tragic incident. Other dogs may bite or attack resulting in death, but no other dogs relentlessly attack and tear at people’s flesh in this and far worse ways. Pit bulls are like wolves in sheep’s clothing, killing one person in the U.S. approximately every two weeks over the past several years. In fact, an elderly man in California died on February 28, 2017, as a result of a pit bull attack that had occurred earlier in the month. It’s past time to ban the breed.

–Guest Contributor

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A 76-year-old Man and His Pet are Killed by Two Pit Bulls

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

English: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsc...

English: American Staffordshire Terrier aka a pit bull. Deutsch: American Staffordshier Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Valentine Herrera was savagely attacked by two pit bulls on February 2, 2017, and he died from the injuries on February 28. The fatal pit bull attack occurred in Los Angeles, California, as the victim was taking his dog, a Pomeranian, for a walk at about 6 p.m. The two pit bulls ran upon them and first attacked the man’s pet, reportedly tearing and shredding the small dog. As Herrera tried to intervene, the pit bulls turned on him. They knocked him to the ground and tore into him relentlessly, according to witnesses. After being rushed to a nearby hospital, he underwent brain surgery and received other treatment for his injuries.

Neighbors reported that the same two pit bulls killed another neighbor’s dog four days before the attack on Herrera. Stephanie Grezelle said she and her children witnessed the pit bulls mauling their pet to death. She rushed their pet to a veterinarian, but the damage was too extensive and the dog died.

There is no report yet on the fate of the dogs or on whether or not the dogs’ owner could face charges related to the fatality.

This was the second fatal pit bull attack this year. The first victim was 6-year-old Logan Braatz of Fulton County, GA. The child was walking to a school bus stop in the midst of a group of children when the two dogs attacked him and a 5-year-old girl, Syrai Sanders. Although Syrai survived, her entire scalp was removed from her skull during the attack. She faces multiple plastic surgeries. The dog owner in this case was arrested and has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct.

A look at fatal pit bull attacks in recent years provides convincing proof that pit bulls are too dangerous to exist in society without strict regulations that hold owners strictly to account, in the event someone is injured or killed.

–Guest Contributor

 

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Texas Civil Court Judge Awards a Dog Attack Victim $5.1 Million

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Deutsch: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsc...

Deutsch: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsch: American Staffordshire Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joe Mooring was walking to work early one morning in Bryan, Texas, on November 3, 2015, when he was brutally attacked by two pit bulls. Neighbors called 9-1-1 and officers quickly responded, which is most likely what saved Mooring’s life. The officers rescued him from the dogs and then immediately saw that he had arterial bleeding on his arm. They stopped the bleeding with a tourniquet. Everything was caught on the dash cam of the police vehicle.

Mooring was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he underwent numerous surgeries. Early on, it was reported that he had already had five surgeries. One re-routed a muscle from his back down his arm. Numerous skin graphs were done to get his wounds closed.

As a result of the pit bull attack, Mooring has permanent nerve damage where tendons were severed in his right forearm and his right leg. He is no longer able to work. He says he doesn’t recall the attack, perhaps due to loss of blood. Mooring was hospitalized for a month and had six surgeries total. Medical bills amounted to $450,000-plus.

The pit bulls were put down, with the cooperation of the owners.

A lawsuit was brought against the owners in this case, and it was announced in January 2017 that a judge in Bryan has ordered the dogs’ owners to pay Mooring $5.1 million, having found them to be at fault. When the case was filed, it claimed that the dog owners failed to protect the victim’s safety, failed to control and confine the dogs, and failed to train them or handle them properly so that they would cease an attack upon voice commands.

Neighbors reported that before this horrific attack occurred, the dogs were known to be vicious.

Seldom does a victim of a dog attack receive appropriate recompense for damages, though it’s tough to make up for loss of both health and employability.

–Guest Contributor

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A Child is Killed and another Critically Injured in a Pit Bull Attack

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

English: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsc...

English: American Staffordshire Terrier Deutsch: American Staffordshire Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At about 7:20 am on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, in Atlanta, Georgia, two children were viciously attacked by pit bulls as they were on the way to school with a group of other children. At least two pit bulls suddenly began attacking a 6-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. Some of the other children tried to rescue the two, and one of the would-be rescuers suffered minor injuries. Adult neighbors also tried to intervene, but the damage had already been done. The 5 and 6-year-old were quickly transported to Egleston Hospital. The boy was transferred to a trauma unit at Grady Hospital, where he later died. The 5-year-old girl’s face was described as being completely dismembered. In spite of the severity of her injuries, she has been reported as being in stable condition at Egleston.

Two of the pit bulls known to be involved in the horrific attack lived about a block away from the deadly scene. A third pit bull belonging to someone else is suspected to have possibly been involved. One of the pit bulls that was known to be one of the aggressors was shot and killed by a police officer. Animal control officers took custody of the two others.

The owner of the pit bulls from a block away was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct.

There have been communities that had commonsense responses to fatal pit bull attacks. Public leaders have on occasion been swayed to take steps to prevent further fatalities by this dangerous breed. Breed-specific legislation can ban pit bulls in a community, but it is difficult to achieve. Lawmakers have to be staunchly dedicated to overcome the tide of opposition from pit bull advocates.

What is much more typical is what DogsBite.org reports seeing signs of in this tragic case in Atlanta. Measures have already been taken to garner sympathy for the pit bulls and to defend the breed while laying total blame on the dogs’ owners and disregarding the tragedy of one child’s life being lost and another being maimed for life.

This is the first pit bull fatality in the U.S. in 2017. Last year, 21 people were victims of fatal pit bull attacks. In 2015, 28 people were killed by pit bulls. This comes to an average of 1 person killed by a pit bull approximately every two weeks. This statistic alone should be enough to move state legislators and local officials to take action to protect the public and even pit bull sympathizers from the obviously dangerous breed.

–Guest Contributor

 

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A Pit Bull Rejects Christmas Sweater and Mauls its Owners

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

An American Pit Bull Terrier muzzled. Español:...

An American Pit Bull Terrier muzzled. Español: Un Pit Bull Terrier Americano con bozal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a story out of Tampa, Florida, breed-specific traits common to pit bulls were on display in a bloody scene. On December 30, 2016, 52-year-old Brenda Guerrero went into her backyard to put a Christmas sweater on her pit bull. Instead of merely growling or biting her one time, in protest — as other canines would do — the dog bit and shook her in a vicious bite and then continued attacking. Forty-six-year-old Ismal Guerrero, the victim’s husband, tried to stop the brutal attack and himself became a victim. The couple’s 22-year-old son then stabbed the pit bull in the neck and head. Although the stabbing didn’t stop the dog from exhibiting aggressive behavior, all three were able to flee the backyard. Animal control and police officers arrived on the scene. They shot the pit bull with a tranquilizer gun; and the dog managed to go into the home, which had two children inside. Police finally caught the dog, using a Taser and a bean bag gun.

Brenda Guerrero was admitted to Tampa General Hospital, where she underwent surgery and remained for continued recovery from the horrifying attack.

Studies have been done which demonstrate that pit bulls are the breed that cause the most dog attack victims to receive care in Trauma 1 centers throughout the U.S. Pit bull injuries have also been scrutinized more closely since 2011. Compared to other breeds, it has been found that pit bulls are more than 2.5 times as likely to bite in multiple anatomic locations. Pit bulls also cause a higher severity of injuries.

As this Tampa incident demonstrates, pit bulls are simply more dangerous than other breeds. In 2016, 21 people were killed by pit bulls, which represents a large majority of all dog bite fatalities last year. Most of the attacks were considered to be completely unprovoked.

–Guest Contributor

 

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64-year-old David Fear Dies after a Vicious Dog Attack

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

A Belgian Malinois named Tica.

A Belgian Malinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, in Grover Beach, CA, 85-year-old Betty Long was brutally attacked by two dogs. David Fear, age 64, intervened to save her and suffered critical injuries, including arteries in each arm being severed. Long had broken bones from falling during the dog attack, and she also had serious dog bite injuries. Both were admitted to nearby hospitals. Long survived and made the statement that Fear repeatedly screamed for help, saying, “They’re eating me” during the horrific attack. He died from his injuries three days later on Friday, December 16. Both dogs in the attack belonged to a Grover Beach police officer, whose name has been withheld and who is now on paid administrative leave. The dogs were a Belgian Malinois and a German shepherd, with the former being the main aggressor. The malinois was surrendered to animal control and has been euthanized since the fatal dog attack.

The dog attack occurred outside of Long’s home, and Fear was her next-door neighbor. The dogs escaped from the owner’s yard. The dog owner had only lived in the area a short time before the tragic incident occurred.

Fear is the 29th person in the U.S. to die from a dog attack in 2016. Twenty-one of the fatal dog attacks were caused by pit bulls, which is a typical statistic. Although pit bulls make up only about 7% of the dog population, they commit the clear majority of fatalities every year.

Obviously, other dogs can be just as dangerous as pit bulls. Fatal attacks happen too often, but it’s difficult to know what to do about it, since dogs are widely known as and considered man’s best friend. When it comes to the pit bull breed, there does seem to be plenty of evidence to support a ban of the breed, as a way of saving lives, including the lives of the owners, which make up about half of the fatal victims each year.

–Guest Contributor

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A Dog Attacks a Child and a Police Officer in South Austin

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

An American Pit Bull Terrier muzzled. Español:...

An American Pit Bull Terrier muzzled. Español: Un Pit Bull Terrier Americano con bozal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An 11-year-old girl was viciously attacked by a pit bull type dog outside of her home on Powell Circle in South Austin this week. The victim’s brother flagged down a passerby, asking them to call 9-1-1. Police officers arrived on the scene and began trying to assist the injured girl, but the dog was no longer there. Then suddenly the dog returned and again began biting the girl. One of the police officers was bitten as he tried to stop the attack. The officer then shot and killed the dog, and the assisting officer on the scene was struck by bullet fragments. Both officers were taken to the hospital but have since been released. The girl, however, is still hospitalized. According to a family member, she suffered serious dog bites on her legs and shoulder.

The officer who fired his weapon and inadvertently injured the other officer is on administrative leave, which is protocol when someone is injured.

Cmdr. Eli Reyes with the Austin Police Department made a statement about the incident. He said that the deadly force used against the dog was the appropriate response because the ultimate priority the officers have is to protect life. The aggressiveness of the pit bull had already been demonstrated as a result of the initial attack. The fact that the dog was a danger was clearly demonstrated as the dog attacked the child a second time and also bit a police officer.

The officers are to be commended for helping the young dog attack victim and trying to prevent further injury. If they had not been there, it is entirely possible the child may not have survived. In 2016 alone, 20 people in the U.S. have been killed in pit bull attacks; and in 2015, 28 people were killed by the breed. Pit bulls are popular dogs among families, but they are also the breed of choice among those involved in the illegal blood sport of dog fighting. A passionate community of pit bull advocates always defend pit bulls after violence has occurred, but the lives of victims should be the greater concern.

–Guest Contributor

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How to Identify a Dog Used for Dog Fighting

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

American Staffordshire Terrier o imieniu Gamba.

American Staffordshire Terrier o imieniu Gamba. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stories often make the news about abandoned dogs that appear to have been used as bait dogs in dogfighting rings. Some groups believe that these tales are often designed to create sympathy and increase donations to pet rescue organizations. There may be a certain level of scamming going on. Unfortunately, however, dogfighting is a very real illegal bloodsport in which animals are treated with horrible cruelty. Those involved often make a lot of money. In addition to keeping the activity clandestine in order to avoid an arrest, things are kept pretty well hidden for financial motivations, as well.

The humane society says dogs involved in dogfighting frequently suffer severe if not fatal injuries. The majority of dogs used in fighting are bred and trained specifically for dogfighting. Such an upbringing involves mistreatment and abuse from puppyhood on.

A dog that has been in fights will usually have deep puncture wounds, severe bruising, and broken bones. Hours or days after being in a dogfight, the dogs often die of shock, dehydration, exhaustion, infection, or blood loss. When a dog won’t fight, he usually becomes a bait dog used in training of fighters. The violence, animal abuse, and suffering involved in this bloodsport is disturbing.

In all 50 states, dogfighting is a felony offense. If someone brings a minor to a dogfight, it is also a felony offense, under federal law. The large profits people get from their involvement in dogfighting made the previous penalty of a misdemeanor ineffective and meaningless.

–Guest Contributor

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