Massachusetts Dog Bite Victim Calling for Tougher Animal Control Laws

A dog bite victim is taking matters into her own hands in the Village of Forestdale in Massachusetts, reports Cape News.

Elizabeth Hiatt, a grandmother who bakes, crafts and weaves, suffered damage to her hands in a violent dog attack in late 2017. Her mission is now threefold: to work on improving her hands, change the way dogs are put up for adoption, and change how they are removed from circulation should they prove to be dangerous.

Hiatt has lived in a spacious neighborhood in the village for more than 30 years and has close bonds with her neighbors. A lover of dogs, the grandmother agreed to walk Bubba, a pit bull, for her elderly neighbors who live down the road, Edith and Cliff Gardener. She walked the dog without any incident for six weeks, but on the evening of September 5, that changed.

The start of the walk was typical. Bubba was waiting by his owners’ door, and Hiatt and two of her relatives took the dog by its leash down the road. Coming from the opposite direction was another dog, a Samoyed named Klondike, and his owner. Normally, the two dogs passed without acknowledging each other, but this time, Bubba went after Klondike with so much force that he broke his own collar. Klondike’s owner was able to separate the dogs, but Bubba went after Hiatt next, biting her face and right hand before clamping down on her left hand. At the time, Hiatt could feel her bones breaking and her tendons tearing. A passerby call 911, and Hiatt was taken to the hospital. She received a total of 100 stitches, 75 of which were just for her left hand.

After the attack on Hiatt, Bubba was not put down. In fact, after a hearing, he was allowed back into circulation. He would go on to attack a 22-year-old groomer at a pet store where he had been brought for grooming a few months later. The groomer suffered bites to her hand, wrist and upper body.

While Hiatt has decided not to sue the town, the dog’s owners or anyone else over her incident, she has spent months researching adoption policies, animal control laws and how dog bite cases are handled by local governments. Through her research, she has decided that several protocols need to be put into effect to prevent incidents like this from happening again. Her suggested changes include serious consideration of euthanasia when a dog causes a person serious injury and a dangerous dog hearing in all of those cases, background checks of animals that attack, the immediate impound of any attacking animal, and an evaluation of the dog’s home environment before it is returned to its owners.

Hiatt does not blame her neighbors, who did not know Bubba was dangerous. She just wants to stop other people from being bitten, and to this day, she’s still upset that what happened to the young groomer could have been prevented.

Dog bites can have serious, lasting consequences for victims. If you’ve been attacked by an animal, speak to an attorney, like a dog bite lawyer Denver CO trusts, today.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into dog bite cases.