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Woman who suffered personal injury in dog attack sues Knoxville

Personal injury can cause serious bodily and emotional harm. For example, a 70-year-old woman is still struggling to regain the use of her right arm almost six months after she was attacked by a Knoxville police dog. The woman is now in rehabilitation to treat the many bites and punctures caused by the dog and to follow up on personal injury that resulted from being dragged to the concrete floor of her garage. The attorney representing the woman said she has more than $10,000 in medical bills since the June 9 attack at her home in Jacksboro. She is now suing the city of Knoxville and the police dog's handler for $450,000.

It has been reported that the incident took place when a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois came up to the woman as she pulled into her garage. The plaintiff tried to shoo the dog away by clapping her hands and yelling and waving her arms. At some point the animal lunged at her, grabbing her by the right shoulder and arm. The woman's husband beat the dog off by hitting it repeatedly with a tree trimming pole. An animal control officer then killed the dog in the couple's yard with a 12-gauge shotgun blast.

The police dog had escaped from a kennel at the police dog handler's home, which is about 100 yards from the plaintiff's house. Officials believe a violent thunderstorm on June 9 created conditions by which the dog was able to escape from the metal kennel that contained it. The victim's lawsuit claims that the dog handler was in breach of restrictive covenants of the homeowners' subdivision which directs owners to keep pets in a fence or on a leash. An attorney representing the dog handler claims that the couple never signed a homeowners' agreement. He also said that even if the covenants apply to his client, he did not violate the contract because he did not know the dog had escaped.

The victim in this story likely has grounds for pursuing a personal injury suit. Under Tennessee law, lawsuits against government organizations are limited to a maximum of $300,000. But it is vital that the facts and circumstances surrounding this case be analyzed and weighed carefully before a judgment is made.

Source: The Wbir News, "Lawsuit in K-9 attack alleges handler violated covenants," Don Jacobs, Dec 08, 2011

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