A sixty-three year old jogger was violently mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls in the Palmdale area of Los Angeles County on Thursday, May 9, 2013. The victim was dragged fifty yards and her arm was ripped off in the attack. She died of her injuries in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. The victim was identified on Friday as Pamela Maria Devitt. Alex Jackson has been arrested as a “person of interest” but it has not been confirmed whether he is the owner of the six pitbulls and two mixed-breed dogs that killed Ms. Devitt. The dogs were seized by Los Angeles animal control officials and DNA tests are being run to confirm that they were the dogs in the attack. If so, they will likely be put to death.
Los Angeles authorities and the news media have been informed that the dogs were known to be aggressive in the past. Neighbors said the dogs had a history of hopping the fence where they lived, and of attacking people on horseback and pedestrians. In fact, one witness stated that the dogs had attacked a man riding a horse with two children earlier in the week. Another neighbor, Diane Huffman, said that she was so frightened, she was considering “getting a gun to protect myself.”
At this time, nothing is known of the victim’s family, whether they have retained an attorney, or whether they will pursue a wrongful death claim against the dogs’ owners. However, if the witness testimony proves true, the dogs’ owner may be subject to civil wrongful death claims, as well as criminal charges. Many homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies have specific provisions that deal with dog attacks – either providing, affecting or excluding insurance coverage for the loss. Furthermore, if a survival cause of action is asserted on Ms. Devitt’s behalf, her personal representative could seek punitive damages on the basis that the dogs’ owner knew or should have known that the animals were violent and likely to cause bodily injury or death, but willfully failed to take any action to protect the general public, including Ms. Devitt.
The sympathies of all caring people go out to Ms. Devitt’s family. If you also have lost a family member because of someone else’s conscious disregard for the safety of others, it is important to choose a law firm that specializes in wrongful death litigation. We at the Boesch Law Group, dedicate ourselves to pursuing justice for your loved one while offering sensitivity, caring and understanding during an extremely difficult time. The opinions expressed in this blog or on this website are intended to be general and informative only and not legal opinions upon which anyone should rely. To learn more, call to speak to a Los Angeles-based attorney today: (310) 578-7880.
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