According to ABC Actions News, a 4-year-old St. Petersburg girl was attacked by two of her family’s pit bull mix dogs on Friday. The dogs attacked and bit the girl in the face, while she was in a bedroom in the family’s home. When the victim’s father tried to intervene, the two dogs then began attacking him.
The father of the girl then fended off the dogs long enough to take shelter in one of the family’s bathrooms. Finally, the two victims escaped the house by using a paint easel to keep the dogs at bay. When St. Petersburg Police and Pinellas County Animal Country arrived on the scene, they were forced to fend off the dogs to get the rest of the family out of the house safely.
According to St. Petersburg police officer Mike Puetz, law enforcement was asked by the victims to euthanize both dogs by gunshots. The two dogs were painlessly euthanized by Pinellas County Animal Control after being detained overnight. Both dogs are currently being lab tested to understand why the attack occurred.
According to press reports, dog attacks can be unpredictable. In this situation, it appears the child and her father were attacked by two dogs they had raised since they were puppies. Reports make no reference to any prior aggressive behavior by these dogs.
When a dog attacks a person other than its owner, the owner may be held responsible. Florida is a strict liability state. By state law, a dog owner is strictly liable when their dog bites someone, even if the dog had no prior history of bites.
If you've been the victim of a dog attack or dog bite, you should contact the animal control for the county where the attack occurred. They will investigate and document what happened. Animal control will make sure the animal had been vaccinated or quarantine it, as necessary.