San Bernardino Man Saves Girl from Severe Mauling by a Dog

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Jesse Jimenez, a neighbor of a San Bernardino girl who was attacked by a dog in May 2016, kicked the dog until it ran away and then shielded the little girl until she was safe. (KCAL9 News still)

An 8-year-old San Bernardino girl who was mauled by a dog recently was saved by a neighbor who happened to see the attack when he went to take out the trash.

Gabriella Jones had lacerations on her face and arm and said she was alive because the neighbor, Jesse Jimenez, ran to help her as she lay helpless on the ground after the dog knocked her over and began mauling her. Another dog nearby did not bite her.

Jimenez kicked the dog until it got off Gabriella and then shielded her until she was safe.

“I remember I was on the ground. I remember him kicking and hitting the dog,” she told CBS Los Angeles. She called Jimenez her angel.

‘Her life is more imporant’

“Her life is more important than me,” Jimenez told CBS.

The dogs in question are American Staffordshire terriers. L.A. animal services told CBS Los Angeles the breed is commonly known as pit bulls.

Unfortunately, Gabriella will require plastic surgery to restore her face.

CBS Los Angeles said the dog owner thinks someone left open the fence gate and let the dogs out. The owner of the dogs told CBS he had the dogs euthanized to save anyone else from getting hurt and apologized to Gabriella and her family.

Under California law, the owner is liable for damages if his dog attacks, including possible medical bills, emotional trauma and pain and suffering.

Krasney Law published a blog posting, California Dog Bite Law Puts Liability on Dog Owners—even if the even if the dog had bitten no one before.

From California Civil Code Section 3342:

“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

Every year dogs bite about 4.5 million people in the United States—more in California than in any other state. In addition to being terrifying and emotionally traumatic, dog attacks can result in puncture wounds, lacerations, scarring, nerve damage and infections.

In 2014, 1,867 people who sustained dog bites in California received compensation totaling nearly $63 million from insurance companies, the Insurance Information Institute reports. In California, claims averaged about $33,700 per incident.

But this is a fraction of the Californians who could be eligible for compensation. For example, nearly 1 in 5 people who suffer dog bites become infected. And there were nearly 3,000 dog bites in San Diego alone one recent year.

If a Dog is about to Attack

If you think a dog is about to attack, the Humane Society advises taking the following steps:

  • Do not scream and run.
  • Do not make eye contact with the canine.
  • Stand still, do not move, and keep your hands by your sides.
  • When the dog loses interest, slowly back away until you can’t see it anymore.
  • If these don’t work and the dog attacks, present your purse, jacket, book bag, bicycle or anything you have to put between the dog and you.
  • If you fall down, you should curl into a ball, put your hands over your ears and don’t move. Do not roll around or scream.

If You Do Get Bitten

If you or someone you know gets bitten, as soon as possible wash the wound thoroughly with warm water and soap. Then contact a doctor for further advice.

Also, inform the local animal control agency about the bite, and report everything you know about the dog and the attack, including the owner’s identity and address. If a stray bites, tell animal control what the dog looks like, where you were when it bit you and which direction it took after.

People who suffer dog bites may be scarred emotionally and physically. In addition they may get an infection that requires quick medical care. Some of the diseases spread by dog bites include rabies, MRSA and tetanus, says an article on preventing dog bites from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Also, injuries can be severe enough to require stitches or surgery, sometimes even expensive reconstructive surgery. People bitten by dogs also may suffer emotional distress, including nightmares and fear of dogs. The pain and suffering of the bite as well as the emotional distress can be overwhelming. Medical expenses and loss of earnings are of great concern.

Damages for Dog Bites

The type of full monetary recovery that Krasney Law seeks for our dog-bite clients can include medical expenses, compensation for emotional pain, lost earnings and pain and suffering.

Call Krasney Law of Santa Barbara and San Bernardino at (909) 380-7200 to arrange a free consultation with an expert in the area of California dog-bite and personal injury law. We will charge you nothing for an initial consultation, and we may arrange payment on a contingency basis. That is, we don’t get paid unless you accept a settlement or we go to trial.

We will discuss the facts of your case, the law concerning dog bites, how to proceed with an insurance company and whether you should bring legal action.

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