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Animal shelter sued for exposing child to risk of animal bites

Rescuing a dog from a California shelter is an admirable thing to do, though people would naturally expect the owners of such facilities to ensure dogs are placed in surroundings that will suit their behavioral patterns. Animal bites can have life-changing consequences. A child in another state became a dog bite victim after the family adopted a dog from the local SPCA shelter.

A police report notes that a family with small children adopted a dog in May. On the dog's second day with the family, their 5-year-old child got bitten in the face when he tried to pat the dog. This left the boy with deep facial lacerations. Further investigations revealed that this dog had been returned to the shelter on two previous occasions after adoptive families found it to be aggressive.

Additional proof that the shelter owners had to be aware of the danger is the fact that a specialist in animal behavior reported that an assessment revealed the dog's tendency to be aggressive. Based on this, she apparently advised the owners of the shelter that the dog was not suitable for adoption, and particularly not for a home where there were children or men. The mother who filed the lawsuit asserts she was not warned of the potential danger, nor was she informed about the history of the dog and its previous placements.

On behalf of the injured child, the mother seeks $250,000 in damages, alleging gross negligence. She also claims the defendant was aware of -- or should have been aware of -- the dog's behavioral problems. If California residents find themselves in similar circumstances, they may find comfort in knowing that attorneys who are experienced in pursuing compensation for victims of animal bites are available to help.

Source: newsplex.com, "Fluvanna SPCA Sued After Child Bitten", Courteney Stuart, Nov. 24, 2015

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