It’s rare for the owner of a dog to be convicted of murder for the actions of his or her dog, but that’s what happened today in Lancaster, California.
According to a recent news report, Alex Jackson of Littlerock, CA was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison because his dogs attacked and fatally mauled a 63 year-old woman.
The victim, Pamela Devitt, was out for a morning stroll when four dogs suddenly attacked her. A witness said they tried honking their horn to scare the dogs off, but instead the dogs started attacking the car and biting its tires. Even when a sheriff’s deputy arrived, one of the dogs started attacking him, at which point he opened fire to protect himself. Devitt suffered more than 200 puncture wounds.
It was discovered that Jackson was running a drug operation out of his home and kept the dogs, and a shotgun, to protect himself and his operation.
Although this is a tragic story, it does highlight the responsibility dog owners have for their dogs. If you own a dog and it injures someone, as the owner, you are responsible. This is especially true in civil cases in which a person is bitten by a dog and suffers injuries because of it.
Granted, this is an extreme case in which the owner taught the dogs to be aggressive, but it is an excellent reminder to dog owners. Be sure you follow all the applicable dog laws in your area and keep your dog restrained at all times if it has any aggression towards other dogs and especially humans. If your dog is showing signs of aggression, be sure to seek out professional help from a certified dog trainer to prevent it from continuing. Doing so will help protect innocent people from being injured by your dog.
If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog and would like to know what your options are, please give us a call at 949-496-7000. The first call is always free and we will help you determine if you have a case or not.