A Santa Rosa woman who was badly injured by a bulldog has settled her lawsuit against the dog owner for $1 million. Wendy Rydberg will receive $900,000 and her husband and two children will receive about $33,000 each.
Rydberg suffered several facial injuries when a 90-pound American bulldog bit her face as she walked her own dog to pick up her kids. She spent four days in the hospital and has had three surgeries to minimize scars on her nose, cheek and lips.
The bulldog’s owner was charged with misdemeanors and sentenced to four months in jail. The animal was killed by animal control officials. Sonoma County adopted tougher animal control measures after the attack on Rydberg and others.
Colorado has seen tougher animal control laws as well. In November 2005, the Aurora City Council adopted an ordinance banning pit bulls from the city.
Residents who already owned pit bulls were allowed to keep the dogs with restrictions, which include licensing, obtaining $100,000 in insurance in case the pit bull bites someone, and muzzling the dogs when they are taken out of the home.
Among the findings in a recent report evaluating the effectiveness of the ban:
• More than 635 pit bulls were euthanized in 2006, the first year of the ban, but only 173 in 2007; and 758 were impounded in 2006, compared with 269 last year.
• Also, the city issued 238 summonses for violations of the ban in 2006, compared with 137 last year.
• There was a slight increase, from eight to 11, in the number of dogs that bit humans between 2006 and 2007, but overall bites to humans and animals were down from 2003.
For the most part, officials were pleased with the ordinance’s effect in regulating pit bulls.
Denver also has a pit-bull ban, and has prevailed when residents have tried to challenge it in civil court.
For an overview of Colorado law regarding dog attacks, see Beware Friends with with Fangs.