The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Son Blames PSPCA for Dog Attack Death

Carmen Ramos was killed by a pack of pit bulls. The dogs belonged to her husband, Jose Alvarez, and the dog pack has had a history with the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PSPCA). Now Ramos' son is blaming the PSPCA for the dog attack death.

Ramos, of North Philadelphia, was killed by five pitbulls on Tuesday. The attack happened less than two weeks after another violent incident involving the same dogs, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. On August 19, the dogs attacked two neighborhood residents, a 51-year-old woman and 25-year-old man. Police were able to subdue the dogs in that attack before things turned deadly.

Following the earlier attack, the PSPCA took the dogs away, reports the Daily News. However, just three days later, the animal control shelter returned the dogs to Alvarez -- to the shock of most neighbors.

But does the fact that the PSPCA returned to dogs to Alvarez mean that the agency should bear legal responsibility for Rios' death, as Ramos' son believes?

Unfortunately, it doesn't really matter. That's because government agencies like the PSPCA are generally protected from personal lawsuits due to Pennsylvania sovereign immunity law. So, the PSPCA could have been negligent or careless in returning the dogs to their owner, but it is likely they cannot be sued for that negligence.

Carmen Ramos suffered a dog attack death that may have been avoided had the PSPCA done its job. However, due to Pennsylvania sovereign immunity law, Ramos' family likely has no recourse against the agency. Suing public agencies is difficult business, and if you've been injured due to the actions of a government body, you should consider talking to a personal injury attorney.

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