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Family member on trial for fatal dog attack

Pet owners in Long Beach, California, and beyond are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their animals, along with the welfare of the people their pets come in contact with. It’s up to the dog owner to train and monitor the behavior of the animal to ensure it doesn’t exhibit aggressive or otherwise dangerous tendencies. Furthermore, it’s the duty of the dog owner to prohibit children and other vulnerable people from being left alone with the pet. One Concord, California, man is currently on trial for the tragic death of his young step-grandson, who was killed in a dog attack involving three of the defendant’s pit bulls.

In July, 2010, the defendant apparently left his two young grandsons alone in his house while he and his son were outside. The children’s grandmother was asleep at the time. Two of the defendant’s pet pit bulls were in the backyard, but three others were inside the garage. The two-year-old boy entered the garage alone and was mauled to death.

The defendant waived his right to a jury trial on charges of child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter for his role in the deadly dog attack. Murder charges were rejected at the preliminary stages of the case because there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest the dogs were violent in the past. If convicted of the charges against him, the defendant could face up to 10 years in prison.

California currently lacks legislation specifically addressing dog-mauling deaths, making prosecutions difficult. As for the defendant, even though he admits that his dogs did show signs of aggression prior to the incident, he doesn’t believe he is fully responsible for his grandson’s fatal mauling.

Source: SFGate, “Is pit bull’s owner guilty in tot’s fatal mauling?” Henry K. Lee, Aug. 24, 2013

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