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Man faces murder charge after his pit bulls kill a woman

We frequently discuss, in this Michigan Personal Injury Law Blog, the fact that dog owners in Michigan can be held both criminally and civilly responsible if their dogs attack people. This means that a person can face criminal charges as well as a lawsuit if their dog injures another person. In a recent tragic case in California, a pit bull owner is actually facing murder charges after his four dogs mauled a jogger. The woman, 63, did not survive.

The sheriff's spokesman has stated that this is possibly the first dog mauling case in the area since 2001. In 2001, a couple was convicted of murder and manslaughter charges after their dog fatally mauled a neighbor.

While dog bite fatalities are rare, they do happen. A news report states that there are about 30 to 35 fatal cases every year. However, dog owners can face criminal charges and civil liability even if a dog attack is not fatal. In many cases, victims of dog bites sustain scarring, pain and suffering, disability and substantial medical expenses, and dog owners are often held accountable for these things.

This dog attack took place in Littlerock, California, where the dogs attacked the woman. When a deputy arrived on the scene, he was also attacked before he shot at one of the animals.

It turned out that the owner of the four dogs who attacked the woman had four more dogs at his home--a total of two mixed-breeds and six pit bulls.

The victim's husband told the Associated Press that he does not blame the dogs for the attack, but rather the dog owner who did not take the responsibility of having dogs seriously.

This tragic case is a reminder of the responsibilities that dog owners do have. When dog owners fail to keep others safe around their dogs, they may be held accountable. Victims of dog bites here in Michigan should not hesitate to seek legal counsel to learn about their rights.

Source: New York Daily News, “Pit bull owner charged with murder for California mauling death,” May 31, 2013

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