Bakersfield Dog Bites: An Alarming Trend in Kern County

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Dog bites in Bakersfield are more than just common occurrences. In fact, someone actually gets bitten by a dog every few days according to recent statistics. Bakersfield.com released an article in October of 2019 that suggested that dog bites in the Kern County area were actually decreasing, but went on to mention that there were 152 bites reported to Bakersfield Animal Control in 2018 alone. When you do the math (365 days divided by the number of bites that happened that year), you get 2.4, meaning that, on average, there was someone getting bitten seriously enough for the victims to call Animal Control every 48 to 72 hours.

    Even though the reported number of Bakersfield dog bites has actually decreased somewhat over the past several years (for example, there were 74 fewer bites in 2018 than in 2014 according to local animal control officials), just knowing that there are still that a large number of bites occurring in an area that’s just over 150 square miles are alarming to residents. This is especially true for parents who may have children who walk home from school, adult residents who may commute to and from work by foot, or by folks who live near people with dogs or are dog owners themselves.

    Most people who own dogs feel confident that theirs won’t attack and that they are peaceful animals. In many cases that may be true, such as with a person who regularly walks their friendly dog through places like Centennial Dog Park in Central Bakersfield, Kroll Dog Park, Mesa Marin Sports Complex, Seasons Dog Park, University Dog Park, Wilson Dog Park, or Coffee Road Dog Park in Northwest Bakersfield. There are dozens of people who see dogs and their owners strolling happily in these areas every day, and they’ll walk right up to and pet one that they never met before without thinking twice about it. But, one little girl had a bad experience in that type of situation recently, and now has the scars to prove it.

    Leilani Rivera (who was eight years old at the time of the incident) loves dogs, being that she and her family enjoy the three they have at their own home. So, when volunteering school readers Ann Ardell and Jeffery Jones brought their two dogs to her class at Wayside Elementary in early May of 2019 and invited the students to pet the seemingly peaceful animals, Leilani was happy to. But, when she went to give one of the canines a hug, she became the next Bakersfield dog bite victim. One of the dogs (which were both reportedly either Akita, Chow Chow, or a mix of the two), bit her directly in the face, leaving deep wounds from her lips to her cheek to her right eye socket. The trial was set in early February 2020 for the same month in 2021, and the lawsuit alleges that the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, the Bakersfield City School District, and Wayside Elementary were negligent, in that they should have known that it was dangerous to let animals get that close to the students.

    But, is Leilani’s family actually suing the right party? Well, according to California law, whenever someone gets bitten by a dog, it’s the dog owners who are supposed to be held responsible. So, if the bites had occurred outside of the school, then it would have been the volunteers who brought the dogs that would have been sued. But, being that they were allowed by the school to bring the animals onto campus, Leilani’s family decided that it was fitting to sue the school and the district.

    We at B&D Law Group specialize in providing experienced attorneys for terrible occurrences such as dog bites in Bakersfield. If you or someone you know has recently been bitten by a dog in the area, you could be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, hospitalization, missed work, and/or pain and suffering. Please, don’t hesitate to call us immediately following your incident at (888) 977-2238.

Call (888) 977-2238 to schedule your free case evaluation today.

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