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Santa Monica Agrees to Settle Dog-Mauling Case

Lawsuit involves a 7-year-old boy from Culver City who was bitten in the face and neck.

A Culver City boy mauled by a pit bull named Monster at a Santa Monica park in 2010 could receive $325,000 under a settlement approved Tuesday night by the City Council.

"This was a very sad case," said City Attorney Marsha Moutrie.

The dog attacked 7-year-old Zachary Rasmussen in October 2010 at after jumping on and opening an unlocked gate at the park's small dog run. 

Rasmussen was "viciously attacked in the head, neck, shoulders and back," his attorney Brian Nelson wrote in a negligence suit filed against the city and Monster's owner in March of last year.

Deputy City Attorney Lance Gams said the service gate had been rarely used and "didn't seem to be problem" before the attack.

Had the case gone to trial and the plaintiff won, a jury could have awarded Rasmussen upwards of $1 million, Gams said.

The boy—who reportedly suffered some brain damage as a result of the attack—sought compensation for medical bills and rehabilitation, as well as future health care expenses and damages for pain and suffering.

"The jury was going to have to decide whether they were really going to send this boy away without any compensation," Gams said. "The settlement is a good one for everybody, especially for the city."

The settlement requires approval from a Los Angeles Superior Court judge before it’s official.

Liz Lyons July 26, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Doesn't any 'reporter' know the English language any more? 'BitTEN' not 'bit'. This is the compound past. Hello, third grade grammar.
Tom July 26, 2012 at 02:50 PM
What about the owner of the dog? Sign of the times. Private party A damages private party B and the taxpayers pays for it.
Craig McCoy July 26, 2012 at 03:50 PM
It's the deep pockets that always has to pay. Once again another pit bull attack. It's never a poodle attack.
Cristina July 26, 2012 at 04:20 PM
You want a Poodle Attack Craig McCoy? There you go: http://www.wboc.com/global/story.asp?S=10769319
debbie bell July 26, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Language in America is disintegrating, beginning in 1677 when zee first displaced zed. Oh, so sad. You are fortunate to not have any other troubles!
Michelle July 26, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Is that the picture of the actual dog? If it isn't, then you are making quite a statement.
Someone who cares July 26, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Poodle attack?! That is funny. I can just see my poodles - "hmm, this boy is in my space - I really don't like him here - I think I will go around him - no, he seems to want to get my attention - maybe if I show some teeth - no - that didn't work - oh, well, I think I will go lay down and think about it".
Cheryl A. July 26, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Debbie Bell I actually usually call them Pitties or Pibbies, but then I don't own one, but do find most extremely affectionate. Same as most dogs. As Terriers they have aggression to other dogs especially those of the same gender. As to names that I wouldn't choose myself I know of a Sheltie named Snapper. "Bully" is a common term for a variety of bull dogs. English Bulldog,American Bulldog, Staffordshire Bulldogs, Bull terriers, standard or mini. Any breed or breed can bite, blame the person whom owns the dog. As well as Parent of the child, dogs can get rambunctious so kids dong belong in dog parks, and many owners feel their dog doesn't need to be monitored in dog parks but they do.
TC July 26, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Well put Cheryl A...!
leroysmom July 27, 2012 at 01:04 AM
I agree about the picture. At least it's not a snarling dog, like most mainstream media is fond of showing.
Denise July 27, 2012 at 03:40 AM
If you put a Poodle in a crack house, beat and starved it and forced it to fight -- you would have a vicious Poodle. It's not the breed, it's the morons who abuse them.
EGG55 July 27, 2012 at 06:46 AM
you know dogs. I agree the bully breads also are so forgiving that they will do anything for their human. I have a American bulldog mix, he is often called pittbull and vicious. He stopped other dog from fighting. As for kids in a dog park they don"t belong. We bring our dogs so they can run and play, not to hold them down because a child is there. I f a dog owner brought a dog into the kids play area the police would be called. Yes, if you put any dog into a survival situation most will do anything to survive.
debbie bell July 27, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Christina, you had to go back to 2009 for a poodle attack. You only have to go back 9 hours for a pit attack and 9 minutes for a pit killing a sleeping neighbor dog. I wish pit mongers would be honest: "I only care about myself and my ability to breed and own the dog of my choice. I do not care about others (pets/people) at all. I do not care about pits themselves. I know they suffer and die horrific deaths, but that doesn't effect me. Again, all I care about is myself and my ability to breed and own pits. Don't you DARE complain if you and Btw, I don't' hate pits, but I do hate pit aggression towards other dogs/ dog sized humans. I don't hate dogs with rabies, either, but I do hate rabies and I think it is wrong to keep making more dogs with dog aggression or rabies. More kids are killed in the US by pits than die from rabies.
debbie bell July 27, 2012 at 07:25 AM
Christina, you had to go back to 2009 for a poodle attack. You only have to go back 9 hours for a pit attack and 9 minutes for a pit killing a sleeping neighbor dog. I wish pit mongers would be honest: "I only care about myself and my ability to breed and own the dog of my choice. I do not care about others (pets/people) at all. I do not care about pits themselves. I know they suffer and die horrific deaths, but that doesn't effect me. Again, all I care about is myself and my ability to breed and own pits. Don't you DARE complain if you or your dog are attacked by my pit bull. I don't care about you or your dog." signed, the pit owner, pit monger. Btw, I don't' hate pits, but I do hate pit aggression towards other dogs/ dog sized humans. I don't hate dogs with rabies, either, but I do hate rabies and I think it is wrong to keep making more dogs with dog aggression or rabies. More kids in the Us are killed by pits than die from rabies
debbie bell July 27, 2012 at 07:37 AM
Ok, so let's say that every single pit that attacks and kills the neighbor dog is abused and neglected. Pit mongers do not saying anything about reducing the current situation of pit abuse, pit suffering and death. Oh, I get it, pit mongers don't care! Proof that pits are different is that ALL US dog fighters (who want long dog fights between game dogs, dogs who die before quitting, usually) use pits exclusively. And YOU enable them. If we had our say, we would ban pit breeding and gradually eliminate the fighting pits. Before pits, we did not have dog fighting as we do now, even with Dobes, GSDs, Akita and it will take decades of selective breeding to make other non-bully breeds have the gameness of pits. Pit mongers are on the same side as those who fight dogs. Dog suffering and death is acceptable to pit mongers. Proof is that you refuse to offer or accept any solutions to reduce the current horrific situations that many pits bulls are in.
debbie bell July 27, 2012 at 07:39 AM
Size matters, breed matters. It could be vicious but still not compare to the deadly abilites and instincts of THE mauling master, the pits. Show me poodle fatalities. I can show you 32 pit/pit cousin fatalites of their adult owners, in the last decade.
debbie bell July 27, 2012 at 07:53 AM
Of all breed traits, dog aggression is the worst, especially when combined with the size and tenacity of the pit bull. Before pits infested our neighborhood, we never had a dog killed inside her own home by a dog home invasion. Now we have had several. In some communities, dog killing another dog, even as a home invasion, is not reportable by police, so they don't make the news unless the victim "complains" enough. How can pit mongers so casually, happily say "dog aggression"? Oh, I get it, pit mongers DO NOT CARE ABOUT DOG WELFARE. I know that Bully stands for the various bull dogs, but do you know that the word "bully" also stands for a cruel being who intentionally makes life miserable for someone less strong? I've come to realize that many pit mongers do use "bully" to sound antisocial. That's why a common pit bull post is "my pit might not start a fight, but she will finish it." In this case the dog entered the small dog area of the park. BADRAP and PBRC recommend that pits not attend dog parks, because of this all too common pit behavior. Had he not attacked the child, he most certainly would have attacked another dog. But of course, you will blame the victim. 'Move away if you don't want my loose, out of control, pit to kill you or your little dog." Ban pit breeding. Unless you are dog fighter or want to support dog fighting, you do not benefit from the pits' expert mauling abilities and instincts. Pits are victims too. Stop making more victims.
debbie bell July 27, 2012 at 08:01 AM
Affectionate. Loyal. Protective. It is always about the human. Pits are affectionate to ME, Pits are loyal to ME, Pits are protective of ME. Me me me! Zero empathy for the little dog who was killed while sleeping at Starbucks. Zero empathy for the cat killed when his plastic carrier was And oddly, zero empathy for the 20,000 too many pits who were produced because most pit owners do not care and therefore do not spay/neuter. No, just keep everything as it is: pits breeding and dying like flies, pits being killed at pounds by the ton, uncounted neighbor pets killed by loose pits doing exactly what cruel humans created pits to do, and still create pits to do: kill. No, most pits won't attack, but there is no way to know when instinct will spark in the pit's mind and he will begin mauling. Let THE dog aggression and dog mauling expert skills become extinct. Ban pit breeding now!
Sherry Bernstein July 27, 2012 at 02:05 PM
That poor kid! It is appalling that a child could suffer brain damage and only be awarded $325,00. What about future earnings? We can only hope the city is smart enough to ban aggressive dogs from their dog run before a kid with a better attorney gets mauled.
Anna Balsamo July 27, 2012 at 03:12 PM
If the poor victim is brain damaged as a result of this attack, he's now on par with the idiot pit bull lovers posting here.... And that is most unfortunate.
Jaloney Caldwell July 27, 2012 at 08:20 PM
The it's the owner not the breed mantra sounds logical but it's not. This repetitive slogan is illogical. Other dog breeds owned in much greater numbers have equal chances of getting neglectful and abusive owners, yet they adapt to human shortcomings and don't maul people or pets at anywhere near the rate that pitbulls do. Mortality, Maiming and Mauling by Vicious Dogs, Annals of Surgery, April 2011, is study of dog injuries in hospitals spanning the last 15 years. The study found that you have a more than 2500 times higher chance of dying if attacked by a pitbull. In addition it found that pitbulls caused the highest hospital charges, and the most deaths, dismemberments, permanent disability, and disfigurement of all breeds. The study also found that pitbulls attack children, and owners much more often than other breeds AND IT IS FAMILY LOVED AND UNABUSED PITBULLS THAT ARE MAULING PEOPLE.. Just as you can't see a gene that suddenly turns on cancer, you can't see the gene that is suddenly activated in a pitbull making them violent.If you believe that pitbulls are just like any other dog, and regurgitate the false "its the owner not the breed mantra" you would of believed the world was flat, too Just because something sounds good doesn't make it true. http://walkforvictimsofpitbulls.blogspot.com/ http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pitbulldangers
Marion Z July 28, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Debbie Bell..you are suffering from retardation and you should not be allowed to even comment on any dog related story..you are full of hate..its Dog racism ...go get yourself checked. Maybe they should put someone like you on a leash, you are a danger for the community.
Marion Z July 28, 2012 at 06:56 PM
http://atts.org/breed-statistics/ Maybe some of you should check out this website...statistics about breeds which is conducted yearly.
kat July 30, 2012 at 12:34 AM
http://www.understand-a-bull.com/Articles/OtherBreedBites/AllDogsBite.htm. ignorance seems to be bliss, please scroll through the long list of non pit bull attacks!

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