EXCLUSIVE: Couple in SF dog attack that left 3-year-old boy wounded were found, cited by police

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The video of a dog attacking a 3-year-old boy sparked outrage after the boy’s mother confirmed the dog owners left the scene and didn’t provide any personal information after the attack.

Almost three weeks since this attack, police confirmed the dog owners have been found.

“I’m just grateful that we had media’s help with ABC News to apply some pressure. Otherwise, I don’t think things would’ve happen. I don’t think we would have been able to track down the owners,” said the boy’s mom.

The mom who wants to keep their identity private said an SFPD officer confirmed the couple had been cited a day after the ABC7 news story aired.

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An unleashed dog bit a 3-year-old in San Francisco, sending the boy to the hospital. Now, the parents are pleading for the dog owners to come forward.

In a statement, SFPD said their Vicious and Dangerous Dog unit is investigating the case.

They said the owners were “cited by Animal Care and control for failure to provide information after a dog bite and failure to report a dog bite to the department of animal care and control.”

“I realize this is only the first step. What happens after, what we learned from the police officer, is the city is going to schedule a hearing,” said the mom.

The Vicious and Dangerous Dog unit is part of the SFPD department at the hearing an officer will hear both sides and decide the dogs fate.

“For example, if they declare the dog vicious and dangerous then it has to be registered. We would do the registration and make sure that the dog owners come into compliance,” said Virginia Donohue, Executive Director for the San Francisco Animal Care and Control.

She added, “The hearing officer does have the power to order a dog to be euthanized. That’s the most drastic outcome.”

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The San Francisco Animal Care and Control confirmed the city’s process is focused on the dog’s future, not necessarily the dog owners.

“There is nothing happening to the owners. If we want to hold the owners accountable, we have to file a separately through the civil court. Which can be time consuming and probably have a financial impact, so a lot of people shy away from that, and as a result nothing happens to the owners?,” said the mom.

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According to city records the citation for a dog owner is about $91.

“The courts update these fines; it’s up to at least $90.97 now. ACC officers can only issue a citation if they see an offense, so we don’t usually cite for bites. Because SFPD are peace officers, they can cite without witnessing the actual incident. The Department of Public Health is involved as bites relate to public health and rabies. Jail time is not part of most dog biting cases,” said Donahue.

The hearing in this case is set to happen in the coming weeks.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.