Celebrities who turn to the Dog Whisperer Caesar Millan for help with their dogs may be thinking twice in the aftermath of the alleged mauling death of Queen Latifah’s dog. The singer’s two dogs were left at reality star Millan’s Dog Psychology Center in Santa Clarita for training, and one of them was subsequently killed by Millan’s pit bull, Junior, a dog that purportedly roams the halls of the center freely and has attacked before. Latifah’s dog was just one of several that Junior allegedly attacked in what is being called a “series” of violent mauling events, according to a newly filed lawsuit against Millan.
The lawsuit was filed by former star gymnast Lidia Matiss who says she was also mauled by Millan’s pit bull. Her career was destroyed as a result, the suit alleges. Matiss’ mother works in the L.A. office where the attacks occurred. Court documents allege that Millan attempted to hide the mauling from Queen Latifah, directing his staff to inform her that her dog was hit by a car instead.
Ms. Matiss says that the pit bull bit her legs repeatedly in the 2017 mauling. She was left with serious injuries, including both physical and emotional, with the incident causing loss of enjoyment of life, humiliation, disgrace, embarrassment, and loss of self-esteem. The lawsuit alleges that Millan was well aware of the pit bull’s inclinations for dangerousness and viciousness but allowed him to roam freely anyway.
Attorneys representing the Dog Whisperer say that he was unaware of the incident and that he is not responsible for the attack on Ms. Matiss. They say that Matiss assumed the risk of being attacked and knew of the danger. In a formal response to the allegations against Millan, attorneys for the dog trainer accuse Ms. Matiss of fraud and negligence.
Millan is no stranger to allegations of this nature. In 2015, a nurse in Florida filed a lawsuit after a pit bull at the center attacked her, leaving deep tendon and muscle lacerations and disfiguring open wounds, records show.
Legally, despite their fierce reputation, pit bulls are treated no differently than other dogs in California. However, California law makes it a crime for the owner of a dangerous dog to fail to control the dog (Penal Code 399 PC). California is also a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites and dog attacks/mauling. If a dog bites a person, the owner of the dog is liable for any injuries that result from the attack. There is no one-bite rule that sometimes applies in other states.
Being attacked by a dog is certainly a frightening experience. And even short attacks can leave traumatic injuries, scarring, and disfigurement. Reach out to the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to have the merits of your case reviewed by a seasoned Los Angeles dog bite attorney. You can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 310-997-0904.