Dog attacks are unfortunately very common. Many dog experts suggest that dogs receive proper training so they don’t become a threat to anyone. But even training cannot completely eliminate the risk of dog attacks. K9 units are among the most highly trained dogs in the world, yet one of these police dogs recently attacked someone—a little baby girl.
The attack occurred on July 14, 2017 in San Jose and the news report of the incident was published in various newspapers. Police and local government officials have called it “an unfortunate incident”, although the victim in this case was a 22-month toddler named Arabella. No matter what the situation dog bites are serious. If you are ever in this situation you should certainly consult with a San Diego dog bite lawyer for more information.
What Happened to cause Injuries?
According to the latest reports, San Jose police officers had a search warrant for the home of Hector Pena. Pena was wanted for a probation violation which was related to a previous conviction for vehicle theft. With their search warrant, the police officers went to the suspect’s home. According to the police, Pena failed to comply with the police officers’ orders order to surrender. This caused the police to bring in the K9 unit into the home to help convince the suspect to surrender.
It turned out that baby Arabella was also inside the suspect’s home. Reports say that the dog immediately turned towards the baby and then bit her. According to Arabella’s mother who was also at the scene, the toddler wasn’t doing anything that would have warranted such an attack. The baby girl required 6 stitches to treat her injuries, and eventually Pena was arrested.
In general, dog owners in California are held financially responsible for any damage and injuries that are caused by their pets. But an attack by a police dog on a person who isn’t a suspect (and in this case, just a little baby) constitutes special circumstances.
Under California state law, special legal protections cover police officers whose K9 units injure people in the course of their duties. At the same time, police officers are also prohibited from using excessive force or causing injuries that aren’t in the scope of enforcing the law.
Usually, when K9 units cause injuries to civilians, a thorough investigation follows the incident to ascertain what happened. This investigation determines whether or not the police officers involved acted properly in bringing in the police dog. The investigation can also find out if the police officers violated departmental policies regarding the use of excessive force.
If you or any member of your family has been hurt by a police dog, your best legal option is to consult a dog attack lawyer who can monitor the investigation and also find out if you can receive compensation for your injuries. Dog attacks can be very serious, and on adults it can lead to medical expenses and lost income. For young children and especially for toddlers, it can be a very traumatic experience and your family may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering suffered not just by the child, but the child’s entire family.
Don’t wait if this kind of incident has happened to any member of your family. Any legal claim for compensation must be filed within 180 days of the attack.