Chain | Cohn | Clark Files Lawsuit After Innocent Bystander Attacked By Bakersfield Police K-9

March 13, 2024 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

Chain | Cohn | Clark Files Lawsuit After Innocent Bystander Attacked By Bakersfield Police K-9

The Law Office of Chain | Cohn | Clark has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who was bitten by a police dog during an unwarranted attack in southwest Bakersfield, local news media reported.

Bianca Ortega was an innocent bystander who was bitten in the abdomen by a Bakersfield Police Department K-9 named Kane while it was pursuing an alleged car thief. Kane had a history of an unwarranted attack in 2021, when the dog allegedly bit a man while he was asleep in bed.

The events leading to the incident involved a police chase of a suspect in a stolen white pickup truck. Following a collision with another vehicle at an intersection in southwest Bakersfield, the suspect fled on foot, prompting the release of Kane to apprehend him. Bianca Ortega, who was near the crash site and had exited her vehicle, became the unintended target of Kane’s aggression and sustained multiple bites as detailed in the lawsuit. The alleged car thief was subsequently apprehended and later pleaded no contest to charges including vehicle theft, reckless evasion of police, and resisting arrest, according to local media based on court records.

The lawsuit accuses the police of negligence and assault with a deadly weapon for deploying Kane without considering alternative options when there was a perceived threat to public safety. A court hearing is set for June to address the matter.



California dog bite law holds dog owners strictly liable for all bites that occur in public places or on private property where the victim is lawfully present. Owners are responsible for bites regardless of the dog’s past behavior, and victims can seek compensation for damages like medical bills and emotional distress. According to California Civil Code §§ 3342, the owner is liable for damages suffered by anyone bitten by the dog in a public place or while lawfully on private property, unless the victim was trespassing. Trespassers are generally not covered unless they can prove the owner was negligent. California is a strict liability state, meaning owners are liable for damages caused by their dog biting someone, even if it’s the first time. Victims must prove ownership, injury, and that the dog was a factor in causing harm to recover damages. The statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit in California is two years from the date of injury.

To report a dog bite in California, it is crucial to follow specific steps:

  • Promptly reporting the incident is essential for public safety and creating an official record.
  • After a dog bite, prioritize seeking immediate medical attention, identify the dog and its owner, report the incident to the appropriate authorities, document the incident and injuries, and consider consulting with a personal injury attorney if needed.
  • Doctors and healthcare professionals are legally obligated to promptly report dog bites, especially in designated rabies areas, to prevent the spread of rabies and protect public health.
  • Different counties in California have their own reporting processes, but common information required includes details like the time and place of the incident, names and contact information of those involved, description of the dog, wound location, treatment information, and reporting doctor’s details.



Chain | Cohn | Clark resolved a lawsuit in 2016 on behalf of a Bakersfield woman for $2 million in what was the largest award for a dog bite case against a public entity in California at the time, according to VerdictSearch, a verdict and settlement database. In this case, a 21-year-old was attacked by a K-9 dog accompanying a Kern County Sheriff’s deputy while outside of a restaurant in north Bakersfield. Responding to a domestic dispute, the deputy exited his patrol vehicle and began walking toward Casey. At that time, the K-9 exited the patrol car, ran toward Casey and began biting her for 60 to 90 seconds. Casey suffered several major bite wounds to her leg. Investigation found that the K-9 escaped from its holding kennel in the back of the patrol car due to a mechanical defect inside of the car. The deputy agreed that the K-9 should not have been let out of the patrol car. In addition, the K-9 failed to respond to commands from the deputy to cease attacking.

Chain | Cohn | Clark resolved a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a second-grade student who was bitten on the face by a dog while in her classroom. Leilani, 8, suffered severe lacerations and tearing to her face when she was attacked by one of two large dogs visiting her classroom at Wayside Elementary School (Bakersfield City School District) in south Bakersfield. The dogs belonged to a volunteer reader from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office.



If you are bitten by a dog, here is a checklist of things you should do:

  • If the dog’s owner is present, request proof of rabies vaccination, and get the owner’s name and contact information.
  • Clean the bite wound with soap and water as soon as possible.
  • Consult your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if it’s after office hours.
  • Contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination records.
  • Lastly, contact a Bakersfield animal attack attorney if you think you have a case.


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at