A 78-year-old woman suffered severe injuries to her head, neck and arms after being attacked by a pit bull in New Haven on July 4.
According to the New Haven Fire Chief, the woman was the landlord of the property on Hubinger Street where the attack happened. The pit bull belonged to a new tenant to the property who was introducing the dog and attempting to acclimate it when it attacked around 1:20 p.m.
Neighbors reported hearing the woman scream and rushed to her aid to try to get the dog off of her.
Although the woman’s injuries were considered non-life threatening, medical officials have called them serious due to her age and the significant amount of blood she lost. She remains in critical condition at the hospital and has reportedly consulted a plastic surgeon.
The dog has been quarantined by New Haven Police Department Animal Control, but the owner has not been charged as the animal was not loose and the incident occurred on private property.
However, although no criminal charges have been filed, it may still be possible to hold the dog’s owner liable for the woman’s injuries, which could help cover the costs associated with her medical care and other expenses associated with her injuries.
New Haven Dog Bite Laws
Tuesday’s dog attack is the second reported incident in New Haven in just over a year. Last June, a woman died after being mauled by two dogs on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard.
After a week in the hospital, the woman died from injuries to the head, neck, torso and extremities. The dogs were owned by her friend who was not charged in connection with the attack.
The fatal mauling led to changes in emergency response to dog attacks. All animal calls are now considered priority 1 calls, which include responders from the fire department, police, EMS and animal control.
The attack also prompted proposals to the Board of Alders to explore potential updates to the city’s dog ordinances. The proposed changes would update the city’s laws to be similar to those in New Britain, which define and place restrictions on “dangerous dogs.”
Under the law, a “vicious” or “dangerous” dog would include any animal that has bitten, injured or attacked a human without provocation. That definition, however, would not include attacks in which the dog was protecting or defending a person from attack.
Dogs with these labels would require special restrictions, such as microchips, registration as a vicious or dangerous dog, and posted signs where the dog lives.
The law would not ban specific breeds, however, as that is not allowed under Connecticut law.
In May, the Public Safety Commission recommended using several provisions from New Britain’s laws and the topic was scheduled for discussion in the Board of Alders meeting.
Dog Bite Liability in Connecticut
Connecticut’s dog bite laws state that a dog’s owner or keeper can be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by his or her dog. This rule applies unless the victim was teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog or was trespassing on the property.
The state’s dog bite statute (Connecticut General Statutes Section 22-357) is a strict liability statute, which means the victim does not need to prove that the owner or keeper was negligent or knew that the dog was vicious. They are strictly liable for the actions of their dogs regardless of the owner or keeper’s actions or intentions.
However, dog bite cases can also be brought under a common law negligence theory, which would require the victim to prove that the defendant knew or should have known the dog was vicious. This allows people other than the dog’s owner or keeper to be held liable for a dog bite, including the landlord if he or she knew a tenant’s dog was vicious.
Contact Our New Haven Personal Injury Lawyers
After a dog bite, you should consider seeking legal counsel to determine your options for obtaining compensation for your injuries and damages. Our personal injury lawyers are experienced in handling these types of cases and are familiar with the laws that apply.
We may be able to help you obtain the compensation you need, such as payment for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Contact D’Amico & Pettinicchi today for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights. We do not get paid unless we recover compensation for you.