As a personal injury attorney in San Diego, I often see tragic cases of injury that could have possibly been avoided. And even though injuries can happen from car accidents, safety oversights, workplace errors, home accidents, and more, it’s preventative injuries that remind us to take the extra step to keep our homes, families, and neighbors safe.
Unfortunately, after a tragic accident, a family mourns the death of a loved one this holiday season resulting from a pit bull attack in San Diego.
A 76 year-old-woman was attacked earlier this year by her neighbors’ pit bulls, resulting in catastrophic injury that she initially survived. Her left arm and left leg were amputated after the mauling caused enough serious injury to permanently damage both her limbs. But while the woman was recuperating from the initial attack, a family member told San Diego 10 News that she passed away on Christmas Eve. No word on whether or not her wrongful death arose from the initial San Diego dog attack.
Emako Mendoza was attacked early Saturday morning, June 18, after her neighbor’s dogs had reportedly escaped their enclosure.
“What woke me up [were] the girls next door,” said James Mendoza, the late woman’s husband. “They come knocking on the door, they said that their dogs had gotten loose and they thought they were in my backyard.”
The dogs were reported to have entered the Mendoza’s yard through a hole in a fence according to Frank Cali of the San Diego Police Department.
“My wife was lying [in the back yard],” he said. “She was still screaming… I took her and I covered her up the best I could and I ran in there and called 911.” The injured woman was immediately transported to Scripps Mercy Hospital in critical condition.
Neighbors Alba Medina Cornelio, 39, and Carla Ramirez Cornelio, 19, owners of the pit bulls, pleaded not guilty to felony counts of having a mischievous animal causing serious bodily injury, and six other misdemeanors arising from the incident.
Preventing dog bite accidents in San Diego
Many dogs can turn vicious if trained to be ferocious, or if allowed to become aggressive. It’s never been more important for dog owners to practice diligence and responsibility in keeping their dogs trained and docile. And as proactive citizens, understanding dog safety and knowing what to do in an attack is an important part of keeping our families safe.
Dog owners: do your part
It goes without saying, but dog owners must be responsible in keeping their dogs trained and people-friendly. Pit bulls have garnered a bad rap for being vicious dogs, but many other breeds are capable of causing personal injury if left untrained. Consider the following tips for your safety, and the safety of others.
- Train and socialize your dog properly. Please take the time to be a responsible dog owner and get your dog the proper training it deserves. A professional training regimen can ensure your dog responds to commands in the event of a scare or potential attack.
- Patch any holes in your fence. A tense or scared dog may attack unnecessarily if they encounter a surprise. To avoid any potential attacks, be sure to keep your yard properly enclosed including patching holes or loose boards. Do not allow your dogs to roam your property unleashed, especially when you own a dog that tends to be naturally defensive.
- Spay or neuter. Hormones can intensify your dog’s reaction to bite or attack. Do the right thing and spay or neuter your animal.
- Do not tie up your dog for long periods of time. Keeping your dog chained up is a perfect disaster in stressing the animal. When an animal is not socialized properly, or allowed to roam free in a fully-enclosed area or dog run, the dog can become more prone to attack. Keep your dog in a safe, protected area with enough room to roam.
Keeping yourself safe in a dog attack
If you are put in a precarious situation and are facing an unstable or angry dog, use the following tips to keep yourself as safe as possible. Remember, dog attacks happen most often to children, and it’s important to teach your young ones on dog safety as well.
- If faced with an angry dog, don’t scream and run away. Even though our instinct tells us to run away from danger, The Humane Society of the United States warns not to, and to instead remain motionless when you sense a dog may attack. If you run away, you are likely to trigger the dog’s natural response to catch you.
- Do not approach an unfamiliar dog. While the family dog may prove to be safe and approachable, a stranger’s dog is not likely to welcome you in the same gregarious fashion.
- Avoid surprising a dog. If a dog is eating, sleeping, caring for their young, or in some other way occupied (even with a toy), don’t surprise the dog or disturb it. If you sense your own dog displays erratic behaviors when disturbed, get professional dog training.
- If attacked, do not react. If you are attacked by a dog, The Human Society says to curl up into a ball and “feed” the dog the object it wants (purse, jacket, coat, even bicycle) in order to put something between you and the dog and possibly avoid further injury.
San Diego dog bite injury
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, do not hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-655-6585 for a free and confidential legal review of your case. A San Diego personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Michael Pines will answer your questions free of charge. Call us today.