UPDATE: The 65-year-old woman who suffered serious injuries in a pit bull attack in Spanaway last week has died from her injuries.
“We had two pit bulls that attacked a lady and some other motorists who tried to stop and help,” explained Pierce County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ed Troyer. “Our officers arrived and ended up shooting one of the pit bulls. A motorist shot one of the other pit bulls.”
MyNorthwest.com reports that the woman, who has been identified as Nga Woodhead, was being treated for serious injuries from the attack at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Tacoma for the past several days. Troyer says that if the autopsy determines that the woman’s death was a result of the dog bites, then the owner of the dogs could eventually face criminal charges.
Officials from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office say that they were forced to shoot and kill two pit bull dogs after they attacked and severely injured a woman in Spanaway on October 31.
News reports indicate that the 65-year-old woman was walking on Pacific Avenue South in Spanaway at approximately 9 a.m. when two pit bull dogs attacked her. Several bystanders witnessed the incident and confirmed to the news media that the dogs were unprovoked when they attacked the woman.
“The dogs were tearing into the flesh of the woman as she was screaming,” one of the witnesses told police after they arrived on the scene.
A second witness, identified as a 52-year-old man who happened to be walking by at the time of the dog attack, saw the victim attempting to fend off the dogs with an umbrella and could tell that it wasn’t working. When that witness tried to help the woman escape the attack, the dogs turned on him.
The woman suffered extensive injuries to her arms, which she reportedly held up to protect her face and torso from the attack, and she was taken to a nearby hospital to receive medical treatment. The male witness who tried to help the woman also suffered extensive injuries to his arm.
An additional bystander fortunately had the wherewithal to track down a nearby resident who owned a handgun, and eventually was able to shoot one of the dogs. Both of the dogs eventually retreated and left the victims alone, and police were able to track them down. Fearing that the dogs were still a danger to the public, officers decided to shoot and kill both of them.
Questions to Consider When Filing a Dog Bite Claim
The woman's injuries are likely to be severe considering she was attacked by two pit bulls and had to be taken to a hospital. From a legal perspective, she will likely incur significant damages in medical bills and possibly lost wages if she is unable to work because of her injuries. It would be important for the victim to find out who the dogs' owners are and whether or not they have a home insurance policy that would provide liability coverage to the victim for her injuries and other damages.
Dog bite claims can be extremely difficult to pursue, which makes it even more important that victims take the appropriate steps to discover their legal rights and determine if pursuing a personal injury claim would be beneficial. First, the victim's family would likely benefit from contacting the Spanaway animal control to request previous records about the pit bulls involved and determine if there have been prior reports of attacks or injuries from those particular dogs.
Davis Law Group, P.S. is currently representing a dog bite victim who was attacked by a dog that had injured other people in the past. Cities and municipalities have a level of duty to protect residents and take action when a dog has been demeed dangerous to the public. In the case we are currently handling, we believe that the city failed to follow its own guidelines regarding dangerous dogs and was negligent when it failed to take action.
When a dog attacks an innocent person, the dog owner is typically the one who will be held liable for the damages that result from the attack. However, there are many instances where the dog owner does not have a home insurance policy to cover the damages, or the owner does have insurance but the policy limits are not high enough to completely cover the victim's losses. Because of this, it is important to pursue any additional entites who may be held liable for their negligence.