A 56-year old man was badly bitten in a San Diego County dog bite attack on February 16, 2010, by a pair of aggressive dogs, one of which has a history of biting. This dog bite accident took place in a West Escondido gated community.
The victim, Tom Atkinson, said he was finishing a jog on Rock View Glen in the Emerald Heights development when he noticed two loose pit-bull mix dogs growling at a neighbor and his leashed dog. He joined the neighbor and fought off the dogs. However, as Atkinson continued up the street, the dogs turned around and charged. He was bitten several times by the pair of animals, leaving him with one bad bite to the forearm that required stitches to close the wound and another deep bite to the thigh.
One of the dogs was impounded by a San Diego County Animal Control Officer but was later released to the owner, who promised to keep it on a 10-day quarantine. The other dog also was allowed to stay with the owner but was not quarantined. There may be an administrative hearing to determine whether the dogs are potentially dangerous under the law.
Our office wishes for a speedy recovery for Tom Atkinson. We are indeed glad more serious harm was not done! Some of you may know from prior posts that I am not a fan of breed specific dog laws, particularly those that target Rottweilers or Pit Bulls. While these breeds are most commonly involved in dog bite attacks, it is my own belief that these attacks are the fault of poor owners who are attracted to owning these breeds due to their menacing appearance and strong physiques. Certainly, if you own either of these breeds, you must be a strong and dominant owner—more so than if you own another, less physically imposing breed. Dogs are pack animals and will submit to a pack leader that it respects. Respect, for dogs, comes from an owner who has strong mental discipline and will discipline their pet when it gets out of line.
In this case, how could the owners of these dogs allow them to run free in this neighborhood? This is particularly true of the owner of the dog with the prior bite history. This is completely inexcusable. It is bad enough that Mr. Atkinson was attacked and severely wounded. However, what would have happened—as we normally see in these cases—if these dogs would have attacked a child? Typically, the result is massive traumatic injury and perhaps even death for the child who cannot defend itself against such strong animals. Dog owners must always be responsible, but even more so when they own potentially lethal breeds.