A local business owner in Santa Cruz, California, has prompted a conversation about how dangerous dogs are handled in the county, reports Good Times (http://goodtimes.sc/santa-cruz-news/42-stitches-rio-theatre-owner-dog-bite/).
Laurence Bedford, who owns the Rio Theatre music venue on Seabright Avenue in Santa Cruz, was buying supplies for a show at his business at a local hardware store in early January. After he paid and went to the door to leave the store, a dog bit his hand. He was left with a degloving injury–an injury in which the skin is torn from the tissue underneath–that took 42 stitches to fix.
The dog, named Teddy Bear, took off with his owner immediately after the attack, and it was discovered the dog had a history of such behavior.
Bedford was surprised at the time of the incident, recalling the dog was dragging a leash and showing no signs of aggression beforehand; the animal was even wagging its tail. The local business owner now believes the dog may have been spooked because he had gotten close to the animal’s owner, a local homeless woman named Hope Parks.
Parks later surrendered the dog to the county’s animal shelter, and Bedford said he bears no ill will toward the dog over what happened. However, Bedford does want to help homeless people to seek out animal services, such as vaccinations, for their pets. Many may not do so because they are concerned about contacting the animal services agency, but this poses issues for victims such as Bedford. He did not know if the dog who attacked was current on its rabies shots, and this left him in limbo as he searched for the owner to find out.
Bedford now joins the estimated 1,000 people who need medical care after a dog bite each day in the US, according to dog bite information clearinghouse dogbite.org (https://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics.php). Colleen Lynch started the Texas-based organization so people could learn about how widespread serious dog bite attacks are in hopes that it may one day serve as a tool for lawmakers to enact a nationwide dangerous dog law.
According to Lynn, regulating dogs who are considered dangerous is largely an issue that’s left to counties and cities. The result is a patchwork of rules that are confusing, leaving law enforcement officials unsure about what to do and victims out in the cold.
One local woman who wanted to remain anonymous told Good Times that she was looking into this same dangerous dog issue years ago, when the young child of her neighbor was mauled. A shark attack, according to the woman, makes entire beaches close, but domestic dogs are afforded far more protection, often painted as a victim and defended. This can make it more difficult for officials to handle a dangerous dog in a way that protects people in the future.
A dog bite can leave serious damage behind and a pile of medical bills in its wake. Contact an experienced animal attack attorney, like a dog bite lawyer in Denver, CO, if you were harmed by an animal.
Thank you to the experts at Richard J. Banta, PC, for their insight into DUIs and the law.