South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Howell Law are experienced in cases dealing with dog bites and attacks, so this Darlington County incident bears extreme relevance to the firm. Just before the new year a seven-year-old was playing tag when he fell near a tree, while on the ground the dog attacked the boy causing injuries to his right cheek and left arm. According to the Darlington County Sheriff’s Department the attack occurred in an area between the young boy’s and the dog owner’s home.
The owner of the dog was raking leaves when the attack occurred. The one-year-old pit bull named Keller was unchained at the time. Opposite the Sheriff’s Department report, the owner insists the incident happened in his yard, also that Keller is not a vicious animal and was only protecting the property. Keller’s owner explained that he is regretful the attack occurred, but also admitted that this is not the first case of the pit bull attacking a child, a similar incident took place a year earlier.
In the opinion of the dog owner the unfortunate attack would not have transpired had the bitten child and his playmates been supervised. However, Darlington County Code requires dog owners to keep their pet under “restraint or control.” Meaning dog owners need to have their pet on a leash, confined within a secure location, or obedient to an owner’s commands. According to South Carolina state statute, a dog is “under constraint” when the pet is on the owner’s property or on a leash accompanied by the owner when off the owner’s property. Darlington County Code does not supersede state laws regarding animals and their owner’s responsibilities.
Charges against Keller’s owner are pending for violating the leash law, while further charges under a Dangerous Animal Act may follow. There is currently a warrant for the arrest of the owner in regards to the attack. Keller is under quarantine at a holding unit near animal control while deputies continue their investigation of the matter.
The seven-year-old did receive treatment for his injuries, stitches for his right cheek and a cast to go around his left arm. However, the treating doctor noted the boy was lucky, as the dog was a mere three inches from the boy’s throat. A close call and it is fortunate the boy did not sustain potentially life threatening injuries.