A Space Coast man lost a leg and partial use of both arms after an attack by one or more of his cousin’s three pit bulls. According to Florida Today, Roger Lindee was working on a car outside the home of his cousin, Anthony Phillips, just before the attack. Lindee claims he knocked on the door; Phillips says he burst in unannounced. It was then that Lindee was attacked by Kilo, the biggest of Phillips’ three pit bull terriers. He claims two other pit bulls were also involved, a claim his cousin disputes. Either way, Lindee was mauled for several minutes until neighbors with a shovel and a pitchfork managed to remove the dogs. His right leg was amputated and he suffered broken fingers, a broken ankle and bite wounds that limit the use of his arms. Kilo was shot at the scene by law enforcement.
Many people don’t realize it, but Florida law allows victims like Lindee to hold dog owners legally responsible for their dogs’ vicious attacks. In fact, Florida is a “strict liability” state, which means owners are held liable for the first attack by their dogs, regardless of whether there was past evidence showing the dog is violent. Owners can escape liability by posting signs warning of a “BAD DOG,” but they are also liable for general negligence, just like all Floridians. As the article implies, we also have local laws that can restrict or put down dogs determined to be dangerous.
Lindee’s attack is a bit unusual among dog bite cases because he’s 41 years old — not 4 or 81. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that most adults killed or seriously wounded by dogs are elderly people, who are more fragile. However, statistics show that the vast majority of victims of serious dog attacks are children and teens. Children’s short stature triggers dogs’ dominance urges and puts their vulnerable body parts close to the dog’s teeth and claws. In addition, younger children may not recognize when a dog is getting angry, and older kids may take risks to impress one another. The results can be tragic: sudden maulings that cause death, amputations or lifelong physical and emotional scarring for a young child.
A Florida dog bite lawsuit may not be right for everyone, but for victims like Lindee, who had multiple surgeries over more than two weeks in the hospital, it can be a way to recover the costs of an unprovoked and sudden dog attack. In most cases, the dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance policy covers the cost of any settlement or jury verdict. If you’re a victim of an attack by a vicious dog, you have the right to ask for justice. Contact Cohn, Smith & Cohn to learn more about the laws that apply to your case at a free consultation.