Ortega and her son were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The boy received several stitches in the back of his head where his scalp was torn down to the skull. Ortega and her husband suffered bite wounds on their arms which were also treated.
According to people living in the area, they had seen the dog before wandering around. Some thought he might live in the Aqua Fria River bed. Since the attack Maricopa County Animal Rabies Control Officers have been patrolling the area along with the El Mirage Police. The patrol ended when an animal control officer found the dog in the river bed Tuesday morning.
Reports have shown that the dog had a collar, leading one to believe that at some point the dog had an owner. The questions are, who and where?
In Arizona, if you are attacked and/or bitten by a dog, the owner is automatically liable. More often than not, a person’s homeowners insurances will cover the damages caused to the victim. However, some policies exclude “animal liability”, so you may want to check yours if you have a dog or other pet. The only defenses to a dog attack are trespassing (showing that the victim was in a place that he/she was not entitled to be) or provocation (provoking the animal). Clearly, neither of these defenses would apply in this case.
We wish the Ortega family a safe and speedy recovery.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email Chris Zachar directly at Czachar@zacharlaw.com, or visit our website at www.ZacharAssociates.com