The owner of the pitbull is completely liable under the facts you have presented. If the owner is not willing to pay for the cost of the medical care, pursue the matter in small claims court. Remember to ask the Judge for the costs of filing and seving the complaint, which the Judge will award to you provided you prevail in court. Best of luck!
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In California, the owner of the dog is strictly liable for any damage the dog does. It doesn't matter if they didn't know it was out on the street. A person who has a pit bull that runs loose will continue to make excuses forever. I would recommend that you (a) notify animal control of the bite, and (b) file a small claims action as soon as you know what the bills will be. If the owners own a home, ask who their homeowner's insurance is with and put in a claim. Sorry about your Malty.
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Many states have adopted strict liability in dog injury cases. California is one. Be certain to know all of the damages before settling just for the first bills. Make your demand in writing, if possible through an attorney's office. Here's more in strict liability for damages occassioned by a dog: BLUE LINK BELOW
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