Dog involved in possible lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit may not always involve a fatal vehicle crash, medical malpractice or occupational injury. According to a recent report, a Dayton family may file a cause of action because of the mauling death of a 60-year-old family member last year.

A pit bull chained in a yard located near the Dayton Art Institute broke free and attacked the victim as he was walking down an alley behind that property on his routine morning walk on April 25, 2017. Apparently, he struggled with the dog for several minutes. Neighbors called 911 after hearing his screams. He died afterward from severe blood loss after suffering several bites to his upper and lower extremities. Police shot and killed the dog.

Two other dogs on by the property were euthanized earlier this year after an evaluation determined they were unsuitable for adoption. Another dog was ultimately released and adopted. Several neighbors claim that the home on that property belongs to a relative of the dog's owner who resides nearby. One neighbor also said that the dog in the attack was not properly socialized and was aggressive because it was always on its chain.

The victim's brother said that the victim's family is considering a lawsuit against the dog's owner or the homeowner. The family holds them legally responsible for his death because the dog was not properly confined.

A criminal investigation of this attack is ongoing. This case was referred to the Dayton Prosecutor's office because it did not meet the grounds for a felony under Ohio law, according to Dayton Police. County prosecutors are considering misdemeanor violations.

There were many unsuccessful efforts to strengthen the state's vicious dog laws, known as the Klonda Richey Act. Companion bills introduced in both legislative chambers last fall are before committees. Criticism of vicious dog regulations also followed the mauling death of a 57-yer-old victim by two mixed mastiff canines outside her Dayton home in February of 2014. Police shot and killed the dogs. Their two owners pleaded no contest to misdemeanor counts of failure to control dogs and were sentenced to individual terms of 150 and 90 days imprisonment.

Source: My Dayton Daily News, "A year later, no charges in Dayton dog mauling death," Cornelius Frolik and Mark Gokavi, April 24, 2018

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