Dogs make great pets. They can be friendly, loyal and playful. But because of this, it’s easy to forget that dogs can sometimes be dangerous creatures. This was true for an elderly woman who became the unfortunate victim of a dog attack.

Reports of an incident

Police responded to a call about a dog bite victim just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6th. Upon arrival, they found that 95-year-old Janet D’Aleo had sustained severe dog bite injuries. She was a visitor in someone else’s home when the dog in question, a male pit bull pointer mix, attacked her.

Police reported that D’Aleo’s injuries included significant flesh, muscle and tendon loss. D’Aleo was rushed to Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts but succumbed to her injuries. A bite of this severity registered as a level six bite on the Ian Dunbar Bite Assessment Scale, which means it resulted in death.

Conflicting perspectives

The dog’s owner, Annie Hornish, insists that it was not the dog bite that killed D’Aleo. She claims that when the dog came to greet D’Aleo, he knocked her down. It was the fall, Hornish says, that killed her.

When asked about the dog bite wounds, Hornish admits that her dog attacked D’Aleo after the fall. However, she claims that her dog attacked D’Aleo only when a nurse’s aide who was present in the house thought the dog was attacking D’Aleo. When she went to help get the dog away, he began biting D’Aleo.

“We feel that our dog was greeting in an exuberant fashion and knocked her down,” Hornish said of the incident, “and we believe it was the fall that may have killed her.”

However, medical examiners reported that it was, in fact, the bite that killed D’Aleo. Hornish is still unconvinced and wants an autopsy.

Police are still investigating the case.

When do dogs bite?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most dog bites happen in the home by a familiar dog, just like in this news story. A dog might bite someone if they:

  • Feel threatened
  • Experience stress
  • Want to protect their owners or puppies
  • Feel territorial
  • Experience physical harm

Seeking compensation

Dog bite injuries can be serious — and, as this incident shows, even life-threatening. They can result in expensive medical bills, ongoing treatment, physical disfigurement and even emotional trauma. When a dog attack is unprovoked, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and receive the compensation you need to recover.