An Orange County homeowner could face fines or a premises liability claim and has lost his dog after a dog bite incident this weekend. 10-year-old Daniel Oliff was bitten by the dog as he was playing in the yard of the home where the dog lived, according to police. The boy’s injuries were serious enough that there was blood visible from the bite and he had to be hospitalized. He is expected to be OK.
Daniel was playing at a house on Stonefield Drive in east Orange County around 7 p.m. on Sunday when he was bitten by the dog, a pit bull named Buddha. Kevin Whittington, who helped Daniel, said he found the boy after the incident had taken place.
“I walked down and saw he had blood coming from his leg, so I asked him what happened. He said he had been bitten by a dog,” Whittington told WKMG-TV Local 6. “He seemed to be more scared (than hurt), but you could tell he was in pain.”
Shortly afterward, Orange County sheriff’s deputies arrived. While they were waiting for animal control officers, the dog became aggressive, lunging at a deputy. One of the deputies then fired two shots at the dog, killing it.
Owners Could Face Premises Liability and Fines; Claim Dog Had No History of Aggression
Fabio Pagani, one of the dog’s owners, claimed that Buddha had never been aggressive in the six months he had owned him. He doesn’t know how the dog got into the yard to bite Daniel.
“We don’t know how he got out. Every door was closed, and I figure someone came here and let him out and forgot about him,” he said.
As we previously reported in our blog, it is difficult to assess how dangerous a dog may be based on a single bite. It is unclear whether Daniel was bitten once or multiple times, or if there was any tearing or slash wounds that indicate a more serious biter. However, a dog bite that draws blood is more serious and demonstrates more aggression than one without an actual puncture.
Injuries to children Link to /Practice-Areas/Children-s-Injuries.shtml from dog bites are more common than injuries to adults, because kids don’t always recognize signs of fear or aggression exhibited by dogs.
While this pit bull may in fact have shown no obvious signs of aggression while Mr. Pagani owned him, the owner may not have been told of a prior history of biting. In any case, under Florida premises liability law, it does not matter whether a dog is “vicious” or if the dog’s owners knew that. Owners of dogs that bite are responsible for the damage they cause to anyone legally on their property.
• “Pit Bull Attacks Boy; Deputy Kills Dog” (WKMG-TV Orlando, June 28, 2010)
• Florida Statutes Annotated §767.04, Dog owner’s liability for damages to persons bitten