Iowa Toddler Killed by Babysitter's Dog

April 29, 2013

dog-chases-and-bites-marine-at-marine-day-times-square-fleet-week-new-york-2011_l.jpgDog bite lawyers at Pintas & Mullins report of a troubling story out of Des Moines, Iowa concerning the death of a four-year-old girl. The little girl died recently from injuries sustained when she was attacked by her babysitter's dog.

The girl and her brother were being watched by the sitter on a Monday in Prairie City, Iowa. Around two p.m., the little girl was mauled by the sitter's American Staffordshire Terrier and was flown by EMS helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines. For almost 24 hours the little girl fought for her life, but ultimately died around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

An American Staffordshire Terrier is another name for a pit bull. Most pit bulls are excellent with children when supervised, however, as always, it is the owner's responsibility to monitor the dog when around children, particularly small children. The babysitter in this case was clearly negligent in her care of both her dog and the two children she was responsible for, and the results were catastrophic.

The sitter was arrested that Tuesday afternoon and charged with child endangerment, which is a felony and punishable by up to 25 years in prison. She was also charged with another felony, neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, which carries a fine of $1,000 to $10,000 and up to 10 years in prison. She is currently being held in Jasper County Jail.

The dog's owners - the babysitter and her husband - were given a letter by the Prairie City Police Chief shortly after the incident informing them that their dog was considered dangerous and could no longer be harbored in city limits. The dog is now in quarantine at a nearby veterinary clinic. Because the investigation is ongoing, it was not released whether or not the dog or its owners had previous complaints against them.

One of the Wright's neighbors also operates a day-care from her home. She said that the attack has shaken her as well as the patrons of her business. She stated that she saw the Staffordshire Terrier outside only occasionally, and he seemed to be properly cared for.

This is the second death of a child caused by a dog attack in two years in Iowa. In March 2011, a three-year-old was attacked by two Rottweilers while in her own backyard. The dogs had managed to escape from their kennel located nearby.

Just a month ago, in February 2013, a dog bite lawsuit was recently settled for more than $550,000. The bite occurred at about 5:30 a.m. in a hallway in New Jersey. The victim was walking out of his office when he heard growling nearby, and was soon after attacked by a Rottweiler and pit bull that had escaped from their cage in a factory.

The dogs jumped on him and began biting him all over his body. The 43-year-old victim said he tried to fight the dogs off for almost an hour before police arrived. He was left in a coma-like state, intubated in the hospital for 10 days. He suffered muscle damage and permanent scarring. The man ultimately sued the dog's owner and the building's landlord, and was awarded $563,000 in damages. The owner was found liable for 85% of the damages and the landlord for the remainder.

Every year, about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs, and about 65% percent of those who end up in the ER are children between five and nine. Dog bite attorneys at Pintas & Mullins highlight these stories to make the public aware of the very real dangers of leaving dogs unattended with children, even if only for a short time. Our attorneys have extensive experience working with victims of dog bites and their families, and ensure you will receive maximum compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.