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California dog fatalities rank high on national list

Pet owners, animal rights activists and California state legislators have long discussed the proper prevention and prosecution of dog attacks. Some argue that it is the sole responsibility of dog owners to train animals and protect others from potentially aggressive behavior. While others contend that more can be done on the local and state level to manage animal populations and criminalize dog attack incidents. For now, all that anyone may agree on is that fatal attacks are more prevalent than most would assume.

According to dogbite.org, the state of California had the highest number of fatal dog attacks last year. Beyond that, pit bulls were involved in all five fatal incidents. However, criminal charges were not pressed in every case. Right now, 700 cities across the country, in addition to military housing communities, have statutes in place regarding pit bull ownership and populations. Pit bulls still played a role in almost 80 percent of the total 32 fatal dog attacks that happened in 2013.

Other concerning figures suggest that the majority of fatality victims that were either living with or visiting the offending dog’s owner were seven years old or younger. In fact, 11 of the 18 children under the age of eight who died in dog attacks last year were younger than five.

Riverside County addressed concerns over the high rate of attack incidents in the fall of last year by requiring the spaying and neutering of pit bulls in unincorporated regions. A recent incident involving a nine-year-old girl sustaining bite injuries to the upper half of her body from being attacked by pit bulls serves as a harrowing example of how severe and traumatic such an experience can be for victims and their families. An attorney can help families understand their legal rights and options.

Source: Sky Valley Chronicle, “Seattle Girl Attacked By Pit Bulls,” July 27, 2014

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