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California women face manslaughter charges in pit bull death

A California mother and daughter are facing criminal charges after the death of an elderly woman who was attacked by the family's two dogs earlier this year. The women previously pleaded not guilty to the lesser charges against them, but it is not yet known how they will react to the additional charge.

According to police reports, the fatal dog bite attack occurred in June. A 75-year-old San Diego woman was in her backyard in the Paradise Hills neighborhood when multiple pit bull dogs entered her backyard and attacked her. She suffered massive injuries, and was forced to undergo multiple surgeries including the amputation of one of her arms and one of her legs. She ultimately succumbed to her injuries in December.

The pit bulls involved in the attack were owned by the elderly woman's neighbor, a 39-year-old San Diego woman and her 19-year-old daughter. The dogs had previously attacked another neighbor, according to a statement from the San Diego County district attorney's office. Following the June attack, the dogs were seized by the county Department of Animal Services and put to sleep.

The mother and daughter were initially charged with felony possession of dangerous animals that caused great bodily injury, to which they pleaded not guilty. Following the victim's death, however, the San Diego district attorney decided to increase the charges to involuntary manslaughter. The women have not yet responded to the additional charge.

Whether or not there have been criminal charges filed in a dog bite case, the victim may be entitled to civil damages. If you have been attacked by a dog, you should consider contacting a personal injury attorney to discuss your options.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Pitbull owners face manslaughter charges in fatal mauling," Jan. 18, 2012

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