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Modesto: Pit Bulls Fatally Attack Juan Fernandez, Seriously Injure Maria Fernandez

Posted on Oct 15, 2014

Shortly before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14, 2014, four pit bulls fatally attacked a 59-year-old man and seriously injured his 77-year-old mother in southwest Modesto, reported the Los Angeles Times. After escaping from a neighbor’s property in the 800 block of Glenn Avenue, the dogs mauled Juan Fernandez and his mother, Maria. Emergency responders transported them to the hospital, where Juan succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday. Maria remains in critical condition. Due to their aggressiveness, deputies had to shoot all of the dogs. The dogs’ owner is cooperating with authorities in the investigation of the mauling. 


Fatal dog attacks are less common than those causing injury, resulting in anywhere from 30 to 35 deaths a year. Nationwide, one in five of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs every year suffer serious injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under California law, the victims of these attacks may hold the owners of the dogs civilly liable for the expense associated with their recoveries, such as for medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. 


When an attack proves fatal, the dog owners may also face criminal charges if they knew or should have known that their dogs were vicious and did nothing to protect the public from the risk they posed. Last August, 31-year-old Alex Jackson was convicted of second-degree murder after a jury found that he knew his dogs were dangerous before the vicious May 2013 attack that claimed the life of 63-year-old Pamela Devitt in the Antelope Valley town of Littlerock. Earlier this month, Jackson was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. 


All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to offer our condolences to the family of Juan Fernandez. We would also like to wish a full recovery to Maria Fernandez. 


For more information on the rights of the victims of dog attacks, please call 888-752-7474 or contact us online

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