Frances Torres says she's lucky to be alive after being attacked by a neighbor's pit bull.
The 66-year-old grandma was walking her dog when the pit bull allegedly attacked her, Channel 2 Action News reports. Both Torres and her dog were injured in the incident.
Now the pit bull's owner could be on the hook for Torres' medical and vet bills.
Torres said she was walking her miniature schnauzer to the end of her driveway to check the mail when she saw the pit bull coming toward her at full speed. She said the dog went straight for her throat, but she shielded herself with her arms. The pit bull then allegedly clinched down on her elbow.
The pit bull then set its sights on Torres' dog, a Miniature Schnauzer. Torres' daughter and son-in-law responded to her cries for help. "Everybody was trying to kick the dog off of him but the dog was going crazy trying to kill her dog," a witness told Channel 2.
Torres and her relatives told Channel 2 that the neighbor's two pit bulls are always running loose around the neighborhood. They also said the owners never apologized for the attack.
Animal control has since taken the pit bull away and issued several citations. But could the owners be on the hook for civil damages as well?
Under Georgia law, an owner of a dangerous animal can be held liable for injuries caused by the animal if the owner allowed the animal to roam free or didn't take affirmative steps to manage the animal's behavior. Simply showing that a city ordinance existed that required the dog to be leashed would be enough to prove fault under the law.
If the pit bull here had a prior history of aggression toward humans, and its owner was aware of it, the owner arguably had a duty to keep the dog away from the public. In failing to keep the dog restrained, the owner may have breached that duty and caused Torres and her dog to be injured.
If Torres can show that the owner was negligent in failing to restrain the dog, she may be awarded damages for her medical treatment, vet bills, pain and suffering, and any emotional trauma that resulted.