3 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT DOG BITE CASES IN CALIFORNIA
- Injuries include risk of infection.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, approximately 15-20% of dog bite injuries develop infections. Other sources report the risk as high as 25%.
Dog bite related infections are polymicrobial, predominantly Pasteurella and Bacteroides spp. Infected bites presenting less than 12 hours after injury are particularly likely to be infected with Pasteurella spp, whereas those presenting more than 24 hours after the event are likely to be predominantly infected with staphylococci or anaerobes. See Morgan M, Palmer J. Dog bites. BMJ. 2007 Feb 24;334(7590):413-7. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39105.659919.BE. PMID: 17322257; PMCID: PMC1804160.
Crush injuries, puncture wounds and hand wounds are more likely to become infected than scratches or tears.
- Injuries can involve permanent scarring and disfigurement.
The nature of injuries caused by dog bites involve the traumatic removal, tearing or displacement of tissues of the body, including skin and muscle tissue. These injuries often leave permanent scarring and can result in noticeable disfigurement, since the wounds that result are often uneven, of different depths, and leave the skin with jagged edges and possible discoloration.
- Many cities and counties have leash laws.
Local municipalities often impose ordinances known as “leash laws”, which require owners to keep their dogs on a leash and otherwise under their control. Many counties, including Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and LA County all have their own ordinances which, with mild variation, prohibit those owning or responsible for dogs to allow the animals to roam the public space “at large”, or unrestrained.
At times, merely demonstrating that the owner of the dog allowed the animal to roam “at large” (“off leash”) is enough to prove negligence of the owner.