Surgery

One free bite law victimizes victims

Name: CC
Victim: Adult
Location: Walking on a road, New Hampshire
Year of attack: 2021

Tell us about the attack

I took a short lunchtime break to walk off some anxiety. Around the corner from my house, a pit bull / mastiff mix was on his deck. I assumed he was enclosed, but he was not. He leapt from the deck, crossed the yard and the road, and lunged at me. I watched with disbelief and terror, and was praying that he would stop at my feet and just smell me or something. Instead, he mauled me. Note I am saying maul not bite:  I am doing so intentionally as it has profound implications in terms of New Hampshire’s “one bite” law that I’ve been researching.

He took out my right forearm to the bone, then went to bite my upper arm when I succeeded in standing up and his owner came to my rescue. I’ve had reconstructive ACL surgery and a huge skin graft on my right arm, plus puncture wounds on upper arm.

How has your life changed as a result of the attack?

PTSD PTSD

I had to move out of that house that I just purchased. I could not leave my driveway. I had to give my puppy to a friend because I could not be around a dog’s mouth. I had to have 4 separate surgeries to fix me up. I have to look at a horrible scar on my forearm every day which, other than being unsightly, is just a constant reminder of that incident. Which then leads me to being outraged and furious since the owners had exclusion policy in their homeowner’s insurance so it’s like adding insult to injury. It’s all my burden to bear. Plus the pit bull mix was not even put down; the owner just got a fine for an unlicensed dog (back to the “one bite” law…) So who is the next victim? If it had been a child or an elderly person, or if my own puppy had been with me, they would be dead there is no question.

Legal Consequences
The owner was fined for having an unlicensed dog – $100 (and the money went to the government, not me). Given the “one bite” law, and the fact that the owners have the exclusion policy in their homeowner’s insurance, my only recourse is to hire a lawyer (can you imagine that I should have to pay a lawyer…) and file a lawsuit, with no guarantee of success for recovery of medical expenses, and definitely no pain and suffering (vs. an insurance claim/settlement).

I have two years left to pursue a lawsuit, and as much as I want to do that, the level of effort required to do that, plus emotional burden, makes me feel very defeated, depressed, and lost about how to proceed.

What would you like people to know as a result of your attack?
I would like to tell people that as a decent dog owner, if your dog MAULS someone, it should be put down. I say this because how do we know this pit mix will not attack someone again? We do not. It allegedly has never “bitten” anyone before, although the owner openly admitted that it “doesn’t really like people”.

And as far as unleashed dogs, owners can say until they are blue in the face “my dog would never do that”… well your dog is just that — a dog — and you as a fellow human being (and as much as you love your doggie because I do understand and greatly appreciate and miss the love of my puppy) should ALWAYS TAKE PRECAUTIONS AND KEEP THEM LEASHED. please.