|Barked: Thu Dec 4, '08 7:16pm PST |
|More and more suits are being filed against the home or property owners that rent property out. It's now a trend in this area not to rent to pit bull owners or any dog that resembles one. Case in point, the Hill case.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Pit Bull Victim Alan Hill Awarded $7.25 Million Dollars
For the Hill Family, a Piece of Justice
Independence, MO - Alan L. Hill, who suffered severe injuries after being attacked by a group of pit bulls, was awarded $7.25 million by a Jackson County judge. The May 4, 2006, attacks against Hill and two other men sparked an outcry for tougher dog laws in Independence and neighboring communities. After the attack, Independence enacted a pit bull ban.
The judge ruled that several defendants should have known of the dogs' vicious propensities. Listed as defendants were Brittnee Ann Wisdom and James K. Knowles, the owners of the property the pit bulls escaped from, and Wisdom’s mother, Nancy J. Wisdom. Paul Piper, the owner of the dogs, and Bryan Smith, a handyman previously convicted of criminal charges in the case, were named as third-party defendants.
The injuries Hill suffered were catastrophic. Dr. Charles Beggs, who helped treat Hill, said that large areas of one arm were missing tissue. There was extensive damage everywhere -- to the muscle, skin, blood vessels and nerves. Hill's rehabilitation, he said, "will take years." Judge Vernon E. Scoville agreed and ruled that the attack caused permanent disfiguring and disabling injuries (links depict Alan Hill's injuries).
The civil case shed new light on the attacks, including the fact that the Wisdoms and Knowles all tried to contact animal control to have the dogs removed in the days before the dogs’ rampage. Brittnee Wisdom left more than one note for Piper, telling him that he needed to have the dogs fenced in or restrained in a cage. "I just rented the place out and the people have small children," she wrote.
On the morning of the attacks, the Wisdoms drove to the house to meet animal-control officers and have the dogs removed. But the officers already had left. The mother later called Smith to ask him to unlock the door for animal control. He did, but he also left a window open, and the dogs escaped. The dogs quickly went on a rampage, seriously injuring three people. Police eventually located and killed the dogs.
More and more property owners are bearing the liability cost pit bull dogs inflict. As you can see, the cost is huge.
Smith later was sentenced to a year in jail for misdemeanor assault and was to serve 100 days in jail as shock time. Piper also was convicted in municipal court.
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