According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and some other data sources, there are over 89.7 million dogs in the United States as of 2017. Nearly 1,000 Americans are treated in a hospital emergency room every day as a result of a dog bite. It is estimated that there have been over 30 fatal dog attacks in the last few years and over half of them in which the children were the victims.

The term “canine homicide” refers to the death of an individual caused by a dog. San Antonio Injury Lawyer Patrick Toscano points out that even though these types of dog bite cases are extremely rare, it is important to closely examine them to find out what led to the incident and determine if it could have been avoided. Dog bites and attacks not only cause physical damage, but they can result in long-term emotional trauma to the victim.

Celebrities and Their (Not so Good) Dogs

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez and her husband Mark Anthony were hit with a $5 million lawsuit when their dog attacked a flight attendant. The case began on July 3, 2006 when a private airline company assigned Lisa Wilson to work the flight taking the couple from Long Island, New York to Burbank, California. The manifest described the German Shepherd Dog as a “well-behaved guard dog”. However, 90 minutes into the flight, Lisa Wilson walked past the dog (Floyd), who responded by “attacking her and biting her pant leg”. Wilson tried to get away but twisted and fell, injuring her lower back requiring surgery. The suit alleges that the plaintiff could no longer work due to her severe injuries. On December 22, 2009, the case was settled after the plaintiff’s lawyer presented testimony from former employees who were also allegedly attacked.

Dr. Phil McGraw

On February 2, 2011, Janet Harris filed a lawsuit against Dr. Phil McGraw and wife Robin McGraw. Harris, a close family friend was invited over to the house to watch a Dr. Phil Christmas special, and was brutally mauled by the couple’s purebred Korean Jindo dog Maggie. Dr. Phil was not at home at the time, so his wife Robin called to say she was taking Harris to the hospital. However. Dr. Phil instructed his wife not to take her to the hospital in an effort to avoid adverse publicity. Harris when to the hospital upon advice from a doctor and was given antibiotics to combat a serious infection. These antibiotics caused Harris to suffer hearing loss and the tetanus shot caused a tremor in her right hand, forcing her to close a thriving skin care business. In 2009, both the plaintiffs and the defendant signed an agreement to settle the case through binding arbitration.

Christina Millian—Singer-songwriter and actress Christina Millian agreed to pay her neighbor a sum of $55,000 in a dog bite settlement. The plaintiff, Leo Skolian was severely injured when Millian’s pit bull got lose and attacked him tearing a chunk out of his arm. This injury required 19 stitches and nine months of physical rehabilitation. The defendant claims that he still requires psychological care for fear and depression.

When to Consult a Dog Bite Attorney

If you have suffered an injury due to a dog bite or animal attack, you may wish to consult a personal injury attorney for advice. Of course, animals can’t be sued–but their owners can, notes injury attorney Christopher Theisen. An attorney can help you obtain compensation for your injuries and ensure that a lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations runs out on your claim. Most suits have to be brought within a limited amount of time.

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