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Dog Attacks: Are Pit Bulls and Rottweilers More Likely to Cause Serious Injury?

Injury Attorney Los AngelesLos Angeles Injury Lawyer

by David B. Bobrosky

(818) 907-3254


According to California Health and Safety Code, no specific dog breed or mix shall be declared potentially dangerous or vicious, in city or county ordinances.

But the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) says certain breeds tend to be involved in serious dog bite injuries more frequently than others: German Shepherds, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and mixed breeds top the list of culprits.

Statistics show that Pit Bulls tend to be more involved in fatal dog attacks, followed by Rottweilers and then Huskies, and mixed breeds – though other, miscellaneous varieties account for 19 percent of fatalities from dog maulings. In short, it's always best to be on your guard when around dogs, particularly those you don't know well.

  People still argue over whether it's the owner or the breed that is at fault for vicious dog attacks. Whatever side of the argument you fall on, consider recent headlines throughout California, over the past few months:

  • A few weeks ago, a six year old boy died when he was mauled by a pit bull owned by his uncle – a dog that according to news reports, showed no previous signs of aggression.

  • A young woman in Stockton suffered serious injury when attacked by two pitbulls while staying at a friend's house.

  • Another woman in Stockton was mauled to death by a pit bull with a history of jumping fences and attacking animals.

  • In May, a pack of pit bulls and mixed-breed dogs fatally attacked a jogger here in Los Angeles County – the dog owner was recently charged with murder.

While the above stories do not necessarily settle the argument over whether it’s the owner or the breed that is responsible for the most serious attacks, they do highlight the most important point. 

In every dog attack case we have ever worked on and in every case above, there has been a lack of responsible pet ownership.  This includes ensuring the dogs are safely restrained on the property, ensuring they are not trained to be attack dogs, ensuring they are not allowed to be in situations where they can be a danger to someone else, etc.  Regardless of the breed, the owner must be responsible for the dog.

Most dog bites don't require medical attention. But those who do suffer serious injury when mauled or bitten by a dog, may need extensive medical treatment.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 866 dog bite victims sought emergency room treatment in 2008, resulting in $54M in treatment overall. Their injuries included skin and tissue damage and infection, wounds to the head, neck and torso, bone fractures and blood poisoning. They required wound debridement, sutures, skin grafts and other surgical procedures, not to mention counseling, in some cases.


Steps to Take After a Dog Attack


If you have been hurt because of a single dog bite or a vicious attack, the first thing you should do is seek medical help. Use the following as a guide:

  1. Treatment: You need to stop the bleeding and prevent infection immediately. Additional medical services such as surgery or physical therapy can be determined later.

  2. Identification: The next step to take is to identify the dog's owner, if s/he was not present during the attack. Identifying the owner is important for several reasons.  In terms of your treatment, you need to know the health of the dog and whether the dog has received certain vaccinations.  Legally, you may need to bring a claim against the owner, which is often covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy. 

  3. Report: Contact the local animal control authority and/or police department to report the attack.

  4. Evidence: Take photos of your injuries, and the premises where you were attacked or bitten. Gather witness information. Save torn or dirtied clothing. If you ran to a vehicle or behind a fence to escape, take pictures of the exterior doors or fences/gates that may have been scratched, especially if the dog attempted to follow you inside.   


How to Find a Dog Bite Attorney


California Civil Code Section 3342 clearly states that the owner of a dog is liable for damages suffered if a person is bitten in a public place or while lawfully in a private place. If you've been attacked by a Pit Bull, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, or any other breed, you may be eligible for damages related to your medical treatment, continued therapy, psychological treatment, loss of wages and more.

We can't stress this enough: If you've been injured, get treatment first. This principle applies to any type of injury, whether you're involved in a car accident, tripped over a dangerous condition, or been attacked by a Pit Bull. Your health should be your primary concern.

Once you've received initial medical treatment, you can then look for a personal injury attorney if you feel that's what is needed. Look for a law firm experienced in dog bite cases that offers free consultations and is willing to take your case on a contingency basis (both attorney fees and costs).

David B. Bobrosky is a Dog Bite Attorney in our Personal Injury Practice Group. Contact him via email:, for further information.



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