Articles Posted in Dog Bite

Dog bites have been in the news in recent weeks because of the video that went viral of a dog attacking a little boy, who was then saved by his pet cat. Our Atlanta dog bite lawyers read about another courageous little boy who is still recovering after being attacked by a pit bull dog. Jasper Poole, who is only four years old, was attacked by a relative’s pit bull when it was let outside. The dog bit the little boy’s leg and dragged him down stairs. Schley County Sheriff Shane Tondee said when police arrived, “We found a pit bull dog that had blood on him, blood on his face, and blood all over the door, the deck, and the ledge where the incident happened.”

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Recovery Included Surgery Physical Therapy

Two months later, Jasper still had a large wound on his leg, which required 300 stitches. The wounds included a severed calf muscle. The little boy has already gone through two surgeries. His mom, Lezlie Poole, said, “We come here three days a week, and we see a surgeon one day a week, we had to get a custom boot made for us that helps stretch his calf muscle so there’s a lot that goes into that.” His parents say he’s in high spirits, but he has to learn to walk again. Of his physical therapy, his mom said, “It’s like play time for him, he calls it working out. He gets to go to the gym and work out so he gets excited to do that.”

Our Atlanta dog bite attorneys read a news story about a 70-year-old Georgia man who was attacked by two dogs last week.

William Mote was walking down Greenwood Road, like many of his neighbours do, to get exercise. Mr. Mote took this walk regularly, walking to the church at the end of the street, going around the church using the parking lot, and walking back. Sometimes Mr. Mote was accompanied by his young great-grandson, who is 8 years old, and was walking with Mr. Mote just the day before the tragic attack.

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On the day of the attack, Friday January 3rd in the afternoon, Mr. Mote was walking towards the church with his back to a car lot where the dogs were kept. Two mixed breed pit bulls, one brown and one white, owned by employees at the Anchor Auto Sales nearby, got loose. The white dog bit Mr. Mote’s hand and arm and the brown one, which was the smaller of the two, attacked Mr. Mote’s leg. Erica Tarpley, his granddaughter, said the only reason he survived the attack is his neighbour, Marissa Bruce, saw the attack from her car as she was driving down Greenwood Road. She honked and opened the door for Mr. Mote to climb in. Mr. Mote managed to kick the dogs off and get into her car, but he suffered horrible injuries to his hands, arms and legs. He had to receive medical care and is still recovering.

Last month, AJC News published a story about a local woman getting bitten by a bomb sniffing dog working for the Transportation Security Administration at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. As Atlanta dog bite attorneys, this headline was one of the more unique that we’ve seen in recent months.

Susan Dubitsky and her husband were waiting for her sister when the incident occurred on May 2. Mrs. Dubitsky said she did nothing to provoke the dog when it bit her in the stomach while it was walking past with an Atlanta police officer. She said the dog tried to bite her a second time, but the officer prevented it. She told reporters, “The dog just didn’t like me. It was scary. There was no reason to go after me.” She ended up with a bleeding hand sized wound on her stomach that had to be treated by EMTs. She also needed several shots, although not for rabies as the dog was immunized against rabies. Mrs. Dubitsky was rightfully upset over the incident and said she spoke out because she wanted to help make this kind of incident with TSA dogs not happen to someone else in the future. She also noted that something like this could happen to a child. Pit_bull.jpg

Mrs. Dubitsky was also upset that no one from TSA or the Atlanta Police Department came to check on her, although a TSA spokesperson said that TSA is working with the Atlanta Police to investigate the dog bite incident. She is still nervous about going to the airport as well, saying, “I’d like to know why the dog that bit me is still on duty. If nothing else, why wouldn’t they reassign that dog to a patrol car temporarily rather than have it in the airport before they know if it will hurt anybody else?”

This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, sponsored by the US Postal Service. As Atlanta dog bite attorneys, we were sad to see that Georgia is one of the top ten states for dog bites. In fact, Georgia ranks ninth out of the fifty states, with only California, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, and Florida ahead of it. According to this study, there were 121 dog bite claims in 2012 with an insurance payout of $3.3 million.pitbull2.jpg

But this is much less than the actual number of dog bites in Georgia each year. For example, Forsyth County alone reported 142 dog bites in 2012, and have already had 37 dog bites in 2013. Nationally, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, accounting for five percent of hospital visits, in a country with about 70 million dogs. The Post Office says 5,879 mail carriers were the victims of dog bites in 2012. And the Post Office noted, as well, that children are 900 times more likely to be bitten by dogs than mail carriers. They are the most commonly reported public health problem for children in the US. The Post Office’s National Dog Bite Prevention week hopes to raise awareness and educate people about the problem, including with talks by dog bite victims.

Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said, “Dogs are wonderful, intelligent and loyal creatures, but they depend on responsible owners to teach them how to behave around people.” This highlights that a lot of times the dog simply has a bad or negligent owner, and that owner should be held responsible when the dog does something dangerous. Bad dog owners, especially of dangerous animals with more aggressive tendencies, need to be held to account.

Last month, our Atlanta dog bite attorneys noticed a story about another young victim of a pit bull in Georgia.

At a neighborhood PetSmart on Dawsonville Highway in Hall County, the Lane family, which owns a black lab and a terrier mix, went on a shopping trip. Michelle Lane and her four children, including six-year-old David, were talking to two other customers, Darin Dyer and Craig Wooke, the latter of which had brought in his pet pit bull. Ms. Lane’s daughter, Olivia, considers herself a pit bull advocate and the children were petting the dog. Ms. Lane said they let their guard down when David went up to the pit bull and the dog bit him in the face.

The little boy’s face was covered in blood and his mother frantically asked for first aid as she tried to stop the bleeding. She also asked the two men who came with the pit bull to stay and talk to the authorities about the incident, but they both left anyway. James Weber, another witness to this incident, tried to confront Dyer and Wooke in the PetSmart parking lot, but reported one of them, later known to be Darin Dyer, waived a handgun and then drove away. Pit_bull.jpg

This blog has discussed the danges of negligent dog owners before, and about Georgia’s dog bite laws, but it is important to remember that most of the time, a dog attack occurs with a dog that is known to the victim or belongs to a family member or neighbor.

Last week, according to news reports, a pit bull attacked an eight-year-old boy in Columbus, Georgia. A family, including the father, Marcus Mitchum, his wife, and their three kids – a ten-year-old boy, the eight-year-old boy who was attacked, and a four-year-old girl – were jogging in their neighborhood on Saturday. According to Mr. Mitchum, the three kids were running ahead of the parents as they got close to their home. Across the street, Elbert Martin was holding his pit bull, Bobo, on a leash. Bobo pulled away from Mr. Martin, who fell down, and charged at the children. According to the dad, Bobo jumped on the boy’s back and bit down on his ear. His teeth bit a hole through the boy’s ear from the earlobe to the cartilage and bruised the boy’s arm as well. Mr. Mitchum said he had to pull the dog off his son. His son was terrified at the time and had to have stitches. The Mitchum family also owns a pit bull and a Maltese. pitbull2.jpg

Mr. Martin, Bobo’s owner, tells a different story. He claims the three kids were playing with Bobo, and that the kids were teasing the dog. He saw Bobo jump up at the boy, but claims to have not seen the dog bite. He says Bobo came right back to him when he called for him.

While dogs often make great pets, they are also animals, making them dangerous under certain circumstances. Dog attacks are not to be taken lightly. Attacks can be fatal, especially to the most vulnerable of people, such as small children. beware.jpeg

This was proven again when a dog attack killed a 4-year-old boy last month in Georgia, showing the need for caution with dangerous dogs. Brayton Roland Cason, a little boy from Seminole County, went missing in the beginning of September. Georgia police received a 911 call from his home on Acorn Drive in Donalsonville, near Seminole State Park, around 9pm on September 5, reporting him missing. “By that time it was already dark and the grass was high. It took awhile for somebody to come walking upon him and actually see him in the yard,” said Steve Turner, the special agent in charge of the Thomasville, Georgia area. Searchers found the little boy dead in tall grass in his front yard at around 11:30pm, his body badly bruised, according to news reports. The boy’s mother was home when they found his body.

At first, investigators thought it was homicide. However, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) quickly determined that Brayton died of blunt force trauma due to an attack by at least one dog. Mr. Turner stated that the cause of death was determined by “the results of the autopsy, as well as what was witnessed at the scene.” The police believe the incident occurred several hours before finding his body, at around 8pm that evening. The family owned dogs, but the police stated they had no evidence that any of the family dogs were involved in the attack on Brayton.

Our Atlanta dog bite attorneys have talked about dangerous dog situations before and discussed Georgia’s changing laws relating to dangerous dogs (see here). Yet, it is importat to share more information about this issues, as another news story came out last week about an extremely dangerous dog, forcing a police officer to use force. bite.jpg

Last Tuesday at around 9pm near Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and Holly Road in northwest Atlanta, police officers were responding to an unrelated call during a routine patrol of the West Lake Avenue area. But then several people got the officers’ attention by waving and pointing down the street, according to an Atlanta police department spokesperson. They found a woman screaming as a dog was trying to attack the child she was holding. The spokesperson, Officer Kim Jones, said, “Officers then observed a Pit Bull that was attacking a woman who was holding a 2-year-old child. The dog was attempting to bite the child and several times during the incident the dog was successful in grabbing the child’s clothing and tugging on the child.” The woman had to pull the 2 year old away to try to protect it. When the woman broke free of the pit bull for a moment, one of the police officers took the opening to protect the woman and child, firing his weapon several times at the dog. The dog died as a result. The woman, who is the child’s mother, went with the child to Grady Hospital after being treated for injuries on the scene. Another police spokesperson said the officer’s actions maybe have saved the child’s life and was necessary to keep injuries to a minimum.

It is unclear who owned this particular dog. However, negligent dog owners are responsible for the actions of a dangerous or vicious dog. Georgians need to be aware of this, especially as children are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of dog attacks. To keep our communities safe, dog owners need to be responsible or face penalties when they fail to act reasonably.

As Atlanta dog bite attorneys we know that dogs make great friends and pets, but that sometimes there is a dangerous side to some animals. This is why Georgia, and many other states have legislation about dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs (see postings about the law here and here. But dogs and other animals can be dangerous for health reasons, as well, and rabies is the obvious example.
Earlier this month a white poodle mix dog, possibly part Bichon Frise, bit two people in Bibb County. The two were bitten over the July 4th holiday weekend. The dog first bit a person who was considering keeping it as a pet, according to news reports (http://www.newscentralga.com/news/local/Authorities-seek-potentially-rabid-dog-that-bit-two-people–162154515.html). Over the course of a few days, the dog then bit a neighbor’s child. The family decided not to keep the dog after these incidents, so they returned the dog to the person who gave it to them. That person gave the dog to another woman in a Wal-Mart parking lot on Zebulon Road sometime between July 7 and July 10. The identity of the woman is not known, but she said if she decided not to keep the dog she would take it to a Jones County animal shelter.
The Macon Bibb County Health Department Environmental Health Section and the Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare offices are trying to locate the dog because they believe it might have rabies. The Georgia Rabies Manuel requires that dogs, cats, and ferrets be quarantined for ten days following a bite, regardless of whether the animal has a current rabies vaccination or not. If the animal is still alive at the end of ten days then the person bitten would not need preventative shots and treatment for rabies. This quarantine is supposed to protect the health of the bitten person. rabies (GreenColander).jpg
In this case, the dog is not quarantined because authorities do not know where the dog is. According to Donna Cadwell, an official with the Macon Bibb County Health Department, if the dog cannot be found, the health authorities will have to treat the situation as if the dog does have rabies and proceed with the treatment for the two bitten individuals. They will both need post-exposure rabies vaccinations to prevent the disease. The vaccine would have to be administered before any severe symptoms occur in the two. Once a person has rabies, it attacks the central nervous system- there is no treatment and it is usually fatal. In the US, 97% of human rabies cases come from dog bites.
If someone in your family has been bitten by a dog, the Atlanta dog bite lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, PC can assist in determining whether you have a case and how to move forward. Georgia’s laws are in place to protect Georgians from dangerous animals and their negligent owners. Call us today at 404-814-8949, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.
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Our Alpharetta dog bite attorneys know that working dogs are a valuable asset to our law enforcement officers. But these highly trained dogs, while playing an important role, can also be dangerous if not properly watched and taken care of. Regardless of whether the dog is a working K-9 or not, innocent bystanders must be protected from vicious attacks by these animals.

According to news reports earlier this month, 52 year old Walmart employee Mang Dieke was taking an early morning coffee break outside his Fayetteville, Georgia, Walmart. Nearby a locked SUV sat while a K-9 handler for the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office went into the store to use the restroom. Mr. Dieke heard a car door pop and was terrified as a Belgian malinois ran across the parking lot in his direction. Mr. Dieke said, “He got right in my face. He got me on the arm, and I had to drag him inside the store to get help.” The K-9 handler rushed to Mr. Dieke’s aid as soon as he saw what was happening with the dog. Still, Mr. Dieke suffered from bite wounds to his stomach, arm, and groin area. He may require surgery to repair some of the damage from the attack. The Sherriff’s Office is unsure how the dog escaped from the locked car, but they believe frequency interference may have caused the remote to release the lock. The Sherriff’s Office also states that this particular K-9 had no prior history of aggression, and speculated that the dog overreached to getting out of the car without his handler.pitbull.jpg

These K-9 law enforcement dogs are highly trained but come from particular breeds which can be powerful and dangerous in the wrong circumstances. The same week as this attack in Fayetteville, a K-9 handler in Michigan was forced to shoot his police dog, a German Shepherd. The handler noticed markedly increased aggressive behavior from the K-9 and took him to the veterinarian to determine the cause of the recent aggression. At the vet’s office, as the handler and veterinarian tried to leash him, the dog attacked the handler’s face. The handler reached up to protect his face. The dog latched onto his arm and would not let go, so the handler, a deputy with the Oakland County Sherriff’s Office, was forced to draw his gun and shoot the dog. The dog’s body is being set to a lab at Michigan State University to try to determine the cause of his extreme aggressive behavior.