Vent - Son attacked by a dog

  1. Last Sunday my (15 y/o) son was attacked by a dog. He was talking to a lady (I'll call her Sally) who lives around the block from us, and petting her great dane, in her yard. Her neighbors dog (a 50 lb bull terrier) got out of it's yard and started attacking Sallys great dane. When she tried to pull her dog away, the neighbors dog attacked her and bit her on the leg. Then my son grabbed the dog to pull it off of her, and it bit his arm. It wouldn't let go, and my son fell to the ground. He was punching the dog with his free arm, and Sally was trying to pull the dog off, and finally, my son got his fingers wedged into it's mouth and dug his nails into the area under it's tongue, and it let go. Then, apparently, the owner came out and saw what was going on, and called the dog, and it ran home.

    I was actually walking my dog past Sallys house right after it happened and they called me inside. There was blod all over the kitchen from my sons arm and Sallys leg. We went to the ER, and luckily my son and Sally are both doing ok now. But it was upsetting, because the dog had ripped open a scar where my son had stitches just six weeks ago, but the doctor didn't want to stitch it closed because of the risk of infection. It has to heal from the inside out now, and it just looks a mess. He also has two deep puncture wounds. They did put him on Bactrim and Clindamycin to prevent infection.

    Anyway, the owners of the dog went to the ER with us to see how everything went. They were very nice, and apologetic, and i actually felt kind of bad for them because I can imagine how it must feel to know that your dog hurt someone. But before they left, the woman made a comment to my son that he should never jump into a dogfight again. I just looked at her, and said "I'm proud of him. He was trying to help *Sally* when she was getting attacked by your dog." She just kind of ignored what I said and told me that her husband would come by in a few days to give me a $50 check for our co-pay. (I had mentioned that I had insurance, and the last visit for his stitches was a $50 co-pay). I told her to just wait on writing a check, and I would give her a copy of the bill since he also had to have x-rays and antibiotics.

    Apparently, this is the first time her dog has bitten anyone, but she told me that she knew her dog was vicious when it came to other animals. She said she always keeps it locked up, but she was doing yard work, and left the gate open by accident.

    I know someone who works with the lady who owns the dog, and I was told today that she is telling everyone that her dog was provoked, and that Sally and my son should have never gotten into the middle of the dog fight. She also said that my son probably didn't even need to go to the hospital, because he acted like he was fine the next day when she called him. She didn't even bother to speak with me when she called the day after. His arm was so swollen that it looked deformed, like when someone has a broken bone. He woke up in a lot of pain, but felt better after taking motrin, which is when she called. He is also in that bravado stage where he doesn't want to admit if he hurts, so he told her he was fine. I am just so mad that she is acting as if it was not her fault.

    I'm just venting here, because I have been stewing since I heard what she is saying. But I just keep thinking, what if it was a small child in the yard instead of the dog? Or what if Sally (or whoever the dog went after) was alone when it happened? It could have been much more serious. And this woman doesn't seem to be taking it seriously.

    Sorry this is so long, but it has been somewhat therapeutic. I could use some encouraging thoughts right now, since I will have to deal with her when the hospital bill comes in. Thanks everyone!
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  2. 71 Comments

  3. by   dcc43210
    Don't get me wrong....I love dogs. But irresponsible dog owners make my blood boil. In my state bull terrier owners assume "strict liability," meaning that no matter the circumstances, the owners of the dog are liable for any harm it does. They are also required to carry $100,000 of extra liablility insurance. Yes...hindsight is 20/20, but rather than going to the ER, you probably should have called 911 and got the police involved. In any case, make sure you report this to the authorities. There needs to be a record of this attack in case it happens again. Regarding the $50 dollar check "to cover the deductable," I wouldn't accept it until you consult an attorney. If you have already accepted it, make sure your insurance company knows exactly what happened and who was involved. Your insurance company may want to go after your neighbor's home insurance carrier.

    Sorry so long. These kind of people just burn me up.
  4. by   amblessing
    Did you file a police & a report with animal control? If you haven't, do so right away. Personally, if I owned a dog that attacked anyone (unless it was an intruder breaking into my home!) I would have it put to sleep! Make sure animal control knows IMMEDIATELY!! If this dog attacks again, he could be impounded by animal control.

    Not to diminish the attack on your son or your neighbor, but what if that had been a very small child? A small child would have been no match against that dog

    Let us know what happens - I hope your son gets better soon :kiss
  5. by   kids
    Call animal control...do not feel bad for doing it. This will may have been the "first" time her dog bit anyone but it will NOT be the last. She admitted that the dog is vicious around other animals. It doesn't matter if it is only with other animals...the key word here is VICIOUS.

    Now befor anyone gets their tails in a knot...I am a dog owner and lover and unfortunately owned a dog who "went bad". I surrendered him to animal control because I could not live with myself for keeping an animal that didn not know right from wrong.

    I really hope your son heals up without complications and that the wounds do not end up being too bad looking.
  6. by   NurseDennie
    Sh!t Sh!t Sh!t

    No.

    I hope your son recouperates quickly and his scarring is minimal, and that he doesn't become afraid of dogs as a result of this.

    I'm a "doggy" person - I LOVE dogs. But you can't keep a vicious dog. My opinion is that a dog should never be allowed a second bite. And this was an all-out ATTACK.

    The dog needs to be quarantined. Right now. Then he needs to be destroyed after the quarantine period. Or destroy him now and have an autopsy.

    The owners need to GET OVER IT. How dare she be saying that your son asked for it, or "Sally" did? From what you said, Sally was trying to get herself and her dog out of the situation.

    Danes are not naturally agressive dogs and not even very good at defending themselves from really aggressive dogs.

    Your son, at age 15 is probably big enough to feel like he had to protect "Sally." Nope, the neighbors felt apologetic at the time and they should have done!!

    *Now* the whole realization of the situation is setting in and they're trying to minimize it and make you and your son look small. They have a bad dog. They are trying to minimize the consequences of owning a bad dog. They shouldn't be allowed to do that.

    My opinion.

    Love

    Dennie
  7. by   kittyw
    I'm sooooo glad your son is okay!! Thank God for that. ((((RN2bNC))))

    This is the insurance agent in me speaking (ha ha I've had such a variety of jobs!! :chuckle) ... her homeowners insurance should pay for your son's injured arm. Most states (I'm in TN so I only know TN insurance law) allow a first bite free for legality sake, but when I was an agent & underwriter we paid out. So ... if you want to get the bill payed via her (use your judgement here ...) don't cash the check just yet.... if she doesn't offer to pay for the damage you can call your insurance agent. It won't go against you at all & will let her insurance agent know about her dog. Ok... I'm an insurance freak! :imbar

    Ok ... now that the $$ is covered....

    She's being defensive. She should have kept control of her dog & she didn't. My little sisters were attacked when they were 4 & 1 y/o. Not their fault at all, but of course the owner blamed them for eating their breakfast on our own porch!! She knows she knew the dog could be aggressive, she knows she made a mistake, & she's just trying to get others to support her so she doesn't have to feel bad.

    Your son was trying to help Sally out ... I'm glad he cares about others like that. Good luck to your son ... I hope everything heals up okay!!
    Kitty
  8. by   futureccrn
    So sorry to hear about your son. I too was bit by a dog when I was eight. My mom and I were riding our bikes up the road when a big black NewFoundlander charged out of his yard after us as we rode by. The dog ran around my mom and bit me in the back of my right leg. Took a nice big chunk out of my leg. A week earlier, this same dog attacked a neighbor lady and her 18 month old baby as they were out for a walk. This was back in 1981. These so called neighbors who owned the dog never offered to pay for my medical bills or anything. I missed a whole week of school. I couldn't walk on that leg or anything. Thankfully the dog was caught up on his rabies shots. The Animal Control people made the neighbors put the dog to sleep.

    To this day, I have an aversion to big dogs. You don't know when they are gonna "turn" on you. Give me a nice little lap dog. Yeah, I know they bite too but not as bad as big dogs. Wish my parents had sued those people, I could have had my college education paid for. But my parents aren't like that.
  9. by   Mattigan
    Gosh- that is all horrible. I don't bame you for being so upset. Your poor baby. I love dofs as well as the next person but they are dogs and the owners responsibility. I doesn't matter if he did get in the middle of a dogfight- SHE is responsible for whatever her dog does.

    Did you notify law enforcement or did the Emergency Dept. notify them? There needs to be a report on it in cause of more problems. Did she have current rabies certification? If she knows the dog can be vicious and said as much it seems to me she is even more liable .

    I really think law enforcement should be notified in case of further problems with what has happened to your son or what could happen to someone else. I had a neighbor with a wolf (not hybrid- all wolf ). Alot of neighborhood pets and local wildlife had a real bad end before the neighborhood was able to something about the situation and had to have the help of the courts. Thank goodness no people were ever hurt.

    Please post again on how your son does.
  10. by   Mattigan
    the dofs in the second sentence should be dogs- sorry. I am still much more comfortable with a #2 lead pencil.
  11. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    RN2bNC - I'm glad your son seems to be doing fine now. What a scary thing for all of you. I've never had anything like this happen, so I can't say for sure, but I think an official report is in order, with both the police and animal control.

    Even if nothing becomes of it at this point (but it should) it will be documented that this dog is dangerous. (nurses never seem to be able to quit talking about documentation)

    I love dogs more than is probably humanly possible, but some dog owners are idiots. Sometimes, I think it would do society a favor to put some owners down with their pets.

    Please do not accept any payment from these people until you are sure your son is fully recovered. You want them to pay for everything, and some courts may consider your acceptance of any payment, no matter how small, as retribution in full.

    Take care, and PLEASE keep us updated!

    Heather
  12. by   Love-A-Nurse
    my stars! i am glad he is doing alright.
  13. by   LasVegasRN
    I have what others consider a "viscious" dog. I totally agree with what everyone else has said here on the thread. My dog bites. He is trained to bite on command. He is trained to let go on command. If I can't speak and am being attacked, he will attack and continue to attack until he cannot attack anymore. My point? Most of my neighbors have never seen my dog. They have heard him, but they hardly ever see him. If I am irresponsible enough, knowing what my dog is capable of and is specifically trained to do, to let him out of my yard and home and attack someone he perceives as a threat, then that person has every right to sue me.
    Just my opinion.
  14. by   CountrifiedRN
    Thank you everyone! I feel better knowing that so many agree with my thoughts!

    There was a report made to animal control the night it happened. The dog is up to date on its shots, and it is in quarantine for 10 days. But from what I hear, the owners "might" get a $25 fine for allowing their dog to get out, but that is it. Since this was considered one incident, even though two people were attacked, they won't put the dog down.

    I am an animal lover myself, and would never wish anything bad to happen to anyones pet. But I don't know why anyone would have a dog that could do so much damage and is so mean. I truly hope that it does not happen to anyone else.

    Thanks for the idea about a police report. I didn't think about doing that. I did take pictures of my son's arm the day after. I don't plan on suing, but just in case anything comes up, I want to be prepared. (And my nursing school instructors drill us with "Document, document, document!")

    Also, thanks for the advice about the insurance and accepting a check from them. I have not heard from them since we were at the ER, but I won't accept any money until I know what the full extent of the bill will be, and I make sure there are no complications.
    Last edit by CountrifiedRN on Aug 2, '02

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