One Free Bite? Jogger Fights Off Dog With Pepper Spray . . . Dog Owner Bites Jogger

In torts, we learn about animal liability rules governing dogs. While domesticated animals are generally not subject to strict liability, a dog with a vicious character (or one that has previously attacked) does fall under the strict liability standard. However, what about a vicious owner. Police are looking for a woman who attacked a jogger who used pepper spray to fight off her dog. The woman, not the dog, bit the jogger.

The dog appeared to be some type of Rottweiler mix attacked the jogger around 10:25 a.m. in Anthony Chabot Regional Park. After the jogger fought off the dog, the dog’s owner punched, tackled and bit her.

That left a gruesome and clearly human bite mark on the jogger. The police are now looking for the suspect. The attacker was caught on video and described as a thin woman between 18 and 25 years old who was around 5 feet 6 inches tall. 

In torts, there is a rule of “one free bite” that is often the dividing line between strict liability for a vicious dog and negligence for a non-vicious dog. Unfortunately for this suspect, there is no one-free bite rule for criminal assault and battery.

12 thoughts on “One Free Bite? Jogger Fights Off Dog With Pepper Spray . . . Dog Owner Bites Jogger”

  1. As a dog owner I take complete responsibility for my dog. My dog does not approach strangers and if they make overtures to my dog, my dog approaches with lowered head and tail in a subdominant posture. A lot of people, especially young urban people think it’s cool to own dogs associated with protection or dog fighting, (rottweilers, pit bulls, etc), if any approaches anyone in public they are totally within their rights to do whatever they want, especially pepper spray which causes no permanent harm.

    My wife and son while out jogging were approached by three barking growling dogs. My wife handed her pepper spray to my young teenage son and asked him to spray the nearest one, which he did. That one left and the rest kept their distance from then on.

    A lot of people don’t get it. A dog is just an animal.

  2. I have seen people over-react to dogs and this may be one of those cases. We are clearly going to have to follow this case.

  3. Friggin “jogger” is responsible for what ails her. So is Roger Ailes. Dumb itchBay should not have assaulted the dog.

  4. Oh my, the diseases that this poor victim now has to be tested for. I hope she took prophylactic antibiotics and anti-retrovirals. One would assume that anyone who would bite someone over a situation like this was either a drug addict, or mentally ill, or some other major issues. The bite could also develop dermatologic herpes, which is forever.

    The dog wouldn’t have attacked the jogger if he was under the owner’s control and on leash. The jogger is very lucky that the dog owner’s attack didn’t trigger a serious attack from the dog. We all know what happened to that poor Lacrosse coach in San Francisco.

    I love dogs. This dog is clearly being done a disservice from his jack&*(& owner. Now she’s going to jail. If she hadn’t attacked the jogger herself, her dog would have been deemed Dangerous by Animal Control. She would have to keep him on a short orange leash and muzzled every time she left the property with him for 3 years. Her fencing would have to be inspected. That’s it. Not too bad considering the alternative was the dog getting euthanized. Now that she made everything worse, she will probably go to jail. That will mean her dog will either have to go to a friend willing to deal with the dangerous dog requirements, or he could be seized by the pound. Dangerous dogs taken to the pound often get put down.

    Way to make everything far worse for your dog.

    1. Karen,

      I am not closely familiar with this state’s criminal procedure laws but I suspect there could be a procedure where the victim can petition the court, through the prosecutor’s office to compel the suspect to undergo a physical examination to test for having pathogens infectious to the victim. In several states at least the intentional assault that results in communication of disease can in of itself constitute either a particular crime or elevate the severity and level of an extant charge.

      1. I wondered that very thing – if she could force testing for blood borne pathogens.

        She should not wait, however. The window for prophylactic treatment is vanishingly small. The blood vessels are quite close to the surface in gums, which are irritated by sinking teeth into an unyielding limb. Blood borne pathogens can transfer, as well as other diseases spread by body fluids in general. Herpes can spread to broken skin, such as through a bite, and the virus sheds even between outbreaks. Mental health workers and cops have to be especially careful about human bites due to their proximity towards irrational people.

        Even a bacterial infection can go septic. Human bites are quite nasty when they break the skin. She should take precautions, and then if you are correct, force the perp to undergo and release test results. It might help her peace of mind. She will also have to be tested at day 0, 6 months, and again at 1 year for the serious diseases.

        I’ve known people who had various workplace exposures, some quite serious, and they had a very unpleasant year of testing and worry for themselves and their spouses. PCR is pretty accurate nowadays, at least.

  5. The East Bay Regional Park District Police announced an arrest in the case:

    “On 01/04/19, a warrant was issued by an Alameda County Judge and an arrest was made by East Bay Regional Park District Police Officers. East Bay Regional Park District Police Investigators interviewed the suspect at Police Headquarters and she was subsequently booked for the associated charges at Santa Rita Jail. There are no other outstanding suspects involved in this incident.”

      1. Oakland has a lot of drug problems. I don’t know if this perp is a drug user. It’s just hard to think of a reason why anyone would bite someone over something like this otherwise.

        Even if her dog was a lovable moose and jumped up on her out of simple bad manners, people have the right to jog in peace. Not everyone likes dogs. If her dog was on a leash and under her control, he wouldn’t have been able to get close enough to her to get sprayed.

        I have friends in a couple of places where dog dumping as well as loose dogs are a big problem. One has to walk with a cattle prod.

Leave a Reply