An elderly woman was reportedly taken to the hospital the week before last after sustaining serious injuries in a dog attack in Seminole County. The dog, a pit bull-Labrador mix, reportedly bit the woman in the neck, causing injury behind her left ear to her skull, as well well as in her arm and leg, which sustained massive tissue loss.
Neighbors of the owners said they have had problems with the dog in the past. The dog had reportedly deemed dangerous prior to the dog attack, based on a separate incident. The attack is currently under investigation.
Animal Control agents allowed the dog to return home back in April after being declared dangerous under Florida Statute 767.12. Under that statute, the owner of a dog that bites a person while that person is in a public place or lawfully in a private place, is liable for damages suffered in the attack. It doesn’t matter what the former viciousness of the dog has been or what the owners’ knowledge of that viciousness is. So it is a strict liability law.
The statute does, however, say that negligence on the part of the person bitten reduces the liability of the owner if that negligence contributed to the attack.
There is no doubt that dog attacks can result in serious injury, particularly in the elderly and in children. Those who are attacked by a vicious dog can live with the damage for the rest of their life. In some cases, such attacks are fatal. Those who suffer serious injury from a dog attack need to know their rights, and have the opportunity to seek compensation from the owner.
Source: WESH.com, “89-year-old in serious condition after dog attack,” May 23, 2013.