Many Californians enjoy the company of man's best friend, but dogs can become a person's worst nightmare on rare occasions. Dogs and other animals are instinctual by nature and can be aggressive when they are threatened or feel the reflex to chase someone. The Golden State regulates the care of dogs, especially when they are seen as potentially dangerous, to protect ordinary citizens.
But sometimes, these laws are not enough. The owner of a retired police dog in Grover Beach was found not guilty of three crimes related to the animal's attack on two people near his house. The dog broke through a wooden fence and killed a 64-year-old man while injuring an 85-year-old woman he was trying to protect.
The owner's roommate reported a hole in the fence that day, but no action was taken after he examined it. He was not convicted because it must be proved by the prosecution that the owner allowed the animal to run free or did not meet standards of ordinary care. But there is no legal basis for ruling on what ordinary care should be.
Until there is a standard on protecting people from specific types of dogs trained or bred to attack, people must protect themselves from possible injury. It is best to avoid aggressive dogs and know how to protect oneself in the case of a charging or barking dog.
People injured by domestic animals or the survivors of dog attack fatalities have the right to seek financial damages which can help with recovery during the sensitive time after a tragedy. An attorney can help advise on how to best accomplish this goal.