Dog bite victim says no one being held accountable

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A woman said she was bitten by a neighborhood dog, but no one's taking responsibility for it or helping with medical bills.

So, her son called the On Your Side team for help.

A word of warning: Some of the photos in this story are graphic.

Carol Oliver, 74, walks her Southside street everyday like she's done for years. She told FCN last summer, a dog came from out of nowhere and attacked her.

"Bit me right on my ankle and I'm thinking 'Oh my gosh,'" she said. "No leash on it. It just came from their yard across the street."

Her son showed FCN several graphic photos of after her hospital visit. She said it took months to recover and about $1,000 in medical bills.

"It was a big hunk taken out. I had 6 or 7 stitches," she said.

Oliver claims the tenant of the house where the dog was kept offered to help her.

"Anything you need done. Your yard cut, go to the grocery store. He says 'I'll do it for you. Put the bills in my mailbox.'"

Then, she said the tenant moved out. As far as she knows, the dog was put down. She showed FCN copies of a police report she filed,
and of letters she had attorneys send to the property owner.

"I'm on social security. It would be nice if I got reimbursed for that, because it was probably over $1,000," she said.

Robert Oliver is her son. "I just feel bad that it happened to my mother. Nobody wants to accept responsibility for it," he said.

Barry Ansbacher is a real estate attorney not connected to any of this. According to Ansbacher, Florida state law says when someone is bitten by a dog, the owner of a dog is responsible. Ansbacher said someone like a property owner may be responsible.

"But in those cases, there has to be knowledge by those third parties that the dog is dangerous," he said. "They also have to have some ability to change the circumstance."

Ansbacher recommends the following if you want to try to prove someone had prior knowledge of a bad dog in a home:

- Look up past complaints or activity at the home or apartment from Animal Control
- Get any past complaints to police about things like dog barking or other complaints
- Talk to immediate neighbors about any previous incidents

Also, have any promises made put in writing.

If you know of a bad dog in your apartment complex or HOA community, tell them and document it.

FCN left messages for someone who is connected to the company that owns the property. If and when we hear back, we'll let you know.


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