Friday, June 25, 2010

Mailman’s Death in Fatal Dog Attack Investigated

In Oceanside, the death of a postal worker in currently under investigation by the police after a dog attack caused him to fall and suffer serious head injuries.

Ironically, the fatal dog attack happened just after National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The Postal Service even sponsored a public service campaign, which clamored for increased owner responsibility to prevent dog attacks.

Hao Yun “Eddie” Lin, a 33-year old father of three who relocated his family from Los Angeles, was covering his co-worker’s shift and mail route when he was chased down by an unrestrained Rottweiler which jumped on him causing him to hit his head hard on the ground.

Lin was taken to the hospital where doctors tried but failed to treat Lin’s brain swelling and bleeding. He died 9 days later after the attack.

Although the dog has been euthanized following the attack, the investigation is ongoing on whether the owner should be facing charges for the death of Lin.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bites victimize more than 4.7 million people every year. Postal employees and mailmen, aside from children, are some of the most commonly attacked people by dogs. Postal officials have reported that last year alone, more than 2,800 mail carriers were bitten by dogs. Allegedly, most attacks occurred in California, particularly in Los Angeles and Orange County.

The law in California recognizes the strict liability doctrine in cases of dog bite attacks. This means that even if it was the first time the dog attacked or bit a person or even if it had no prior history of violence, the dog owner shall be held liable for a dog bite attack.

This is based on ownership because as the owner of the dog, it is his duty to keep the dog leashed and controlled at all times to prevent the dog from harming other people. So long as the following elements are present, the dog owner can be held civilly and criminally liable for the actions of his dog:

• He is the owner of the dog.
• The dog attacked the victim on public property or while lawfully on private property.
• The victim suffered an injury.
• The dog was the proximate cause of the injury.