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Broward Sheriff’s Office Shoots and Kills Dog After It Attacked Couple Caring for It

An article about an attack by a pit bull caught my interest as a Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorney. According to a Dec. 12 article from the Miami Herald, Angela Owens and her husband, Stephen Robinson, were attacked by a dog they were caring for temporarily as a favor to a friend. The dog, Debo, bit Owens in the arm, then locked onto Robinson’s arm and wouldn’t let go. This caused Broward sheriff’s deputies to shoot and kill the dog when they arrived. The attack led to severe puncture wounds for both husband and wife, requiring medical treatment and likely causing Owens to miss a few days of work as a school bus driver. Both of them are expected to ultimately be fine.

The owner of the dog had reportedly already been considering putting it down. The dog, Debo, had been caged in the couple’s West Park back yard for a week without anything unusual happening. But when Robinson opened the cage to give the dog some water early Sunday, Debo rushed out and attacked Owens, 47. When she screamed, she said, her brother called 911 for help. Robinson got between her and the dog, but the dog transferred its attention to Robinson and locked onto his arm. When the police arrived, they said Owens was standing in the street with severe puncture wounds in her arm, and the dog was still locked onto Robinson’s arm. They said he begged them to shoot the dog, which they did. Robinson declined treatment, but Owens was treated and released from a hospital.

As a Lake Worth dog bite lawyer, I can tell you that locking on and refusing to let go is not at all unusual in attacks by dangerous dogs. We treat dogs as pets, but they are also natural predators that may not let go when their attack or survival instincts are aroused. In addition, some breeds, including pit bulls, simply refuse to let go when attacking. Any dog can attack, but attacks by larger or “working” breeds tend to be more serious simply because a larger dog is able to do more physical damage and reach higher on a human being’s body. In the most extreme cases, dogs have been able to kill human beings, especially children and the elderly, by inflicting severe flesh wounds, blood loss and sometimes organ damage. Most attacks on healthy adults end with minor injuries like the ones suffered by Robinson and Owens, but particularly with children, dog attacks can inflict severe physical injuries, including broken bones and infections, as well as long-term emotional trauma.

If you or someone you care about was attacked by a dog in south Florida, you should talk to our Cooper City dog attack attorneys about fair compensation. After a severe dog attack, victims will likely need to be hospitalized and may need follow-up care to address skin loss, scarring, organ damage or infection. In children, an attack can also cause emotional trauma so severe that they have trouble resuming normal school and social activities. The costs of all of this treatment can add up quickly and overwhelm an average family’s budget. Victims and their families are frequently concerned about suing over a dog attack, because the dog’s owner is frequently not wealthy enough to pay a large legal judgment. In fact, homeowners’ or renters’ insurance covers dog bite claims, so victims are really suing the insurance company — not the friend, neighbor or relative whose dog attacked.

Cohn, Smith & Cohn offers free, confidential case evaluations, so you can talk to us at no further obligation. To learn more or set up a free consultation, contact us through the Internet or call our main office at (954) 431-8100 today.

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