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Volunteer Is Killed By Rescue Dog; Who Is At Fault?


Dogs are mankind’s best friend. But we also all know how dangerous dogs can be. A tragedy earlier this year, which has now resulted in a lawsuit, highlights how dangerous dogs can be–and who can be liable when dogs do bite someone.

Rescued Dog Kills Volunteer

The case involves a volunteer for an animal rescue organization, who by all accounts, was well trained and experienced handling dogs. The organization was one that rescued abused stranded or abused dogs, and many of the animals they rescued, often had violent tendencies or completely unknown backgrounds or histories.

The dog, previously found abandoned around the everglades, was in the care of the rescue volunteer, who was apparently slowly gaining the trust of the dog, and slowly training the dog to assimilate into society, presumably for a future adoption to a home.

And then, seemingly without warning, the dog turned on the volunteer. The dog, at 100 pounds, was much stronger than the woman, and savagely bit her, pulled her to the ground, and mutilated her. The woman died, the cause of death being loss of blood.

Lawsuit Alleges Organizational Problems

Attorneys for the now deceased volunteer in a lawsuit say that the death was preventable, and that the rescue organization should be liable for the death, for failure to take basic safety measures and precautions.

For one, attorneys say that when other volunteers arrived on scene, they were slow to call for emergency help; the workers first reaction was to distract the dog or pour water on it, to try to get it to release the victim.

This failure to call for emergency help was due to a lack of training for volunteers and a lack of company policy that tells volunteers and staff what to do in the event of a (what they contend is foreseeable) dog attack, according to the lawsuit. They also say that the organization did not provide volunteers with protective equipment, to separate dangerous dogs who may attack from victims.

Professional Trainer May Have Been Needed

Family members also say that despite the woman’s experience with dogs, the size of the dog, and the fact that the dog’s background was unknown, meant that the dog should have been placed with an experienced dog trainer or dog facility; family members allege that the victim was not physically able to manage a larger and more aggressive dog.

Dog’s History

There are also questions about how much the organization knew of the dog’s potentially dangerous background. The lawsuit says that the organization promoted the dog as not being violent or prone to attack, a representation that the organization’s volunteer may have relied upon when agreeing to train the dog herself.

No matter how the case resolves, it highlights the precautions that have to be taken when handling dogs, and how corporations and owners of dogs can be liable, when injuries or fatalities are caused by dogs.

Have you been injured by a dangerous dog? We can help. Contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. for help today.




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