Lindsey Scully, a Pacific Palisades resident who owns a Boerboel mastiff, has been accused of violating Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 53.34.4 by maintaining a dangerous animal. A hearing is underway at the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter to determine whether the dog should be seized by the Department of Animal Control.
The dog and its owner live on upper Chautauqua in Pacific Palisades. Six witnesses at the hearing on September 19th testified about being attacked by the mastiff, or having their pet attacked by the mastiff. One of the witnesses attacked, Lyle Omori, testified that he suffered nerve damage to both arms and is scheduled for surgery.
Section 53.34.4(b) of the Code empowers the department to declare a dog to be dangerous whenever it has bitten, attacked or caused injury to any human being or other animal.
In making its determination, under Section 53.34.4(c), the Department of Animal Services is to consider 11 factors:
1. Any previous history of the dog attacking, biting or causing injury to a human being or other animal;
2. The nature and extent of injuries inflicted and the number of victims involved;
3. The place where the bite, attack or injury occurred;
4. The presence or absence of any provocation for the bite, attack or injury;
5. The extent to which property has been damaged or destroyed;
6. Whether the dog exhibits any characteristics of being trained for fighting or attack or other evidence to show such training or fighting;
7. Whether the dog exhibits characteristics of aggressive or unpredictable temperament or behavior in the presence of human beings or dogs or other animals;
8. Whether the dog can be effectively trained or retrained to change its temperament or behavior;
9. The manner in which the dog had been maintained by is owner or custodian;
10. Any other relevant evidence concerning the maintenance of the dog;
11. Any other relevant evidence regarding the ability of the owner or custodian, or the Department, to protect the public safety in the future if the dog is permitted to remain in the City.
The obvious question in this case: why wasn't the dog seized sooner? Why did it take six people to be bitten by this dog before the matter was submitted to a "dangerous dog" hearing?
Despite the outcome of the dangerous dog hearing, every victim of Ms. Scully's mastiff has the right to bring a personal injury claim against Ms. Scully. Under California law, a dog owner is strictly liable for injuries inflicted by its dog. A dog bite victim is entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you been the victim of a dog attack, a personal injury attorney at McGee, Lerer & Associates, a Santa Monica injury firm, is available 24/7 for a free consultation.