Deaths from Dog Attacks Rise in Summer Months

A jogger from California and a double-amputee from South Carolina are two of the most recent victims of fatal dog attacks in the U.S. Dog bite attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm highlight these stories to encourage the public to be more aware of the dangers of untrained dogs, particularly in the upcoming summer months.

The 80-year-old South Carolina man recently passed away from the injuries he sustained during the attack. The dogs reportedly dragged the double-amputee from his wheelchair. The Coroner stated that he was astonished the man held on as long as he did; he had bites and lacerations all the way from the bottom of his amputated legs to the top of his head.

Local officers captured three of the four dogs thought to be responsible for the attack, which were taken to an animal shelter. Deputies are still trying to capture the fourth dog. Police stated the dogs belonged to a woman in the same neighborhood the man was attacked, and were found with traces of blood on them when captured.

An eerily similar mauling took place about two days later on the other side of the country, in Littlerock, California. Four vicious dogs attacked and killed a 63-year-old woman as she was walking through her neighborhood on the morning of May 10, 2013. By that afternoon, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s homicide investigators and animal control officers identified a suspicious house in the area, removing eight dogs from the property.

Neighbors sent the officials photos of the dogs hopping over the property’s fence around the time the attack occurred. Community members stated that the dogs had been aggressive in the past, some even saying they are often too afraid to walk to their mailboxes. They reported seeing the dogs attack pedestrians on several occasions, some even on horseback. The four dogs that mauled the woman also attacked a car driving past the scene, trying to help. The woman in the car called 911 and honked her horn when she saw what was taking place.

When officers arrived at the scene they were forced to fire shots to get the dogs away from the woman. She died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. A few hours later, officials served a search warrant to a home near the attack. Investigators stated they found blood on the home’s porch, which they will run tests on to try and match the DNA found on the victim.

Three people were detained in the search, though only one was arrested, a 29-year-old man, who was ultimately arrested on suspicion of cultivating marijuana. The man was previously cited after one of his dogs attacked a horse. The eight dogs are currently under quarantine for rabies observation in a Lancaster shelter. The county animal control director stated that, once the dogs were separated, their behavior was “just fine,” because they were not able to engage in pack behavior.

Dogs traveling in packs are significantly more aggressive than single dogs, and strange surroundings often intimidate them, which also leads to more aggressive behavior. Officials will seek to have the four dogs involved in the attack killed. The other four will likely be licensed, spayed or neutered as law requires, and either returned to the owner or placed for adoption.

The jogger’s death was the most recent of at least five fatal dog attacks in California over the last two years. One 38-year-old woman died in April 2013, and a 91-year-old woman died in February, when a pair of dogs attacked her at a motel.

Dog bite attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm affirm that, unfortunately, the elderly and very young are most at risk of serious or fatal dog attacks. If you spot an aggressive dog, even if it is behind a fence, you have the right to contact your local animal control officers to investigate. Anyone seriously injured by an aggressive dog may be entitled to significant compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and should contact a skilled dog attack lawyer.