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Bull mastiff mauling of woman leads to lawsuit against owner and County Animal Care services

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James E. Ballidis
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Last December a Laguna Hills woman was viciously attacked by three bullmastiffs and narrowly escaped death due to the heroic efforts of two neighbors. This week she is suing the city of Laguna Hills and the Orange County Animal Care Services for not doing enough to protect her from these known violent dogs.
According to the lawsuit, Dr. Elaine Christian was taking a walk around her mother’s neighborhood when suddenly she was mauled by three bullmastiffs, weighing between 95 to 130 pounds. If it wasn’t for a neighbor, Jim Warren, who witnessed the attack, Christian may not be here today. Warren literally threw himself over the woman to shield her from the dogs. Another neighbor who was attacked earlier as well was able to escape and call 9-1-1.
The Orange County Sheriffs were the first to arrive on the scene and had to Taser and pepper spray to control the dogs. They were later put to sleep.
Since the attack, many neighbors have come forward to tell their stories of the dogs running loose in the neighborhood, dog brawls and other more minor attacks. Orange County Animal Care Services had even quarantined one of the dogs prior to this episode for fighting.
Lawyers for the public agencies argue that they are not liable for and have no legal obligation to prevent such attacks.  The law is under development in this area.  City and County officials are mandated by statute to act in certain circumstances.  If they are mandated to act, the agency can be held liability for failure to carry out that mandate.  If on the other hand, the local and county ordinances are written in vague terms and not mandatory terms, there is no duty to act and thus no liability. 
As an example, in a case we recently settled, the Municipal Code of San Clemente 6.28.010, made provisions for the definition of a “vicious dog” and set forth procedures to follow when the dog was determined to be vicious.  The agency failed thereafter to follow the ordinance, and thus had liability for the incident.  
Whether a claim can be made against a governmental entity is a matter for an experienced California dog bite attorney.  Additionally, most cases require the victim file a written claim against the proper entity within 6 months or you are precluded from suing the entity.
Call us if you have such a claim.  We can help you.  Call now at 1 888 752-7474.

Category: Dog Bite

1 Comments to "Bull mastiff mauling of woman leads to lawsuit against owner and County Animal Care services"

Dude, I have had so many dog bites, it's not even funny. Call those people and get the money you deserve, seriously!
Posted by animal attack attorneys on November 18, 2011 at 02:09 PM

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