Van Nuys woman who lost arm in dog attack gets $7.5 million from city of L.A.

Los Angeles City Hall.
Los Angeles City Hall. (Frederic J. Brown / AFP via Getty Images)

A Van Nuys woman whose arm was amputated after she was attacked by a dog adopted from a city animal shelter will receive up to $7.5 million in a settlement approved by the Los Angeles City Council on Friday.

Argelia Alvarado, 74, was severely injured by a pit bull named O'Gee in her backyard in September 2020.

Alvarado's son, Brent, had adopted O'Gee from the city's East Valley Animal Shelter. The dog had arrived there in May 2020 after biting a jogger in both arms, according to a lawsuit Alvarado filed against the city, alleging negligence.

Read more: L.A. city employee badly mauled by dog at Harbor animal shelter

On June 13, 2020, a supervisor at the shelter approved putting O’Gee in the main kennels, and the next day, a different supervisor allowed him to be listed for adoption to the public, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleged that shelter staff failed to provide Brent with written notice of O'Gee's bite history, as required by state law.

The attack on Alvarado "lasted at least 20 minutes and was a savage mauling in which both of Plaintiff Argelia's arms were brutally shredded, with her right arm broken into pieces and almost entirely severed above her elbow," according to the lawsuit filed in July 2021.

Argelia's right arm could not be saved, and her left arm was also badly injured, "resulting in permanent disability of the left arm and the whole body,” according to the lawsuit.

O'Gee was euthanized after the attack.

Read more: City of L.A. won't issue new dog breeding licenses, citing overcrowded shelters

Neither City Atty. Hydee Feldstein Soto nor the attorney representing Alvarado immediately responded to a request for comment after the City Council vote.

The settlement in Alvarado's lawsuit comes about two weeks after Leslie Corea, a longtime Animal Services employee, was severely mauled by a dog at the city's San Pedro animal shelter. Corea told NBC that she has had three surgeries, adding: “My thigh is half gone.”

Both city employees and animal activists have expressed alarm about the crowded and dangerous state of the city's shelters.

Animal Services Department General Manager Staycee Dains wrote in an email to the public last month that the overcrowding crisis "has put staff, volunteers and animals in harm’s way."

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.