Dog bite suits aim to get owners' attention
- Jennifer Clampet
- The Times - News
Animal Services issued 10 citations to Edward and Michael Leonard
TUALATIN - A father and son are facing up to $5,000 in fines and two civil lawsuits after a rottweiler in their care bit two dogs and one person in Tualatin Community Park.
An employee with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office is expected to serve Edward Leonard, of Tualatin, and Michael Leonard, of Gresham, with the lawsuits sometime this week.
The suits, which are asking for veterinary and hospital bill reimbursements and non-economic damages up to $300,000, were filed July 21 in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
Keith Dozier, attorney for the plaintiffs in the cases, said he has asked that the sheriff's office serve the lawsuits. Dozier said he didn't want anyone else delivering the lawsuit notices to the Leonards when there was a 'risk of being bitten.'
On May 31, Carol Scott was walking on a public path in Tualatin Community Park with her leashed dog, a Greyhound named Shoe, when she reported that Edward Leonard's rottweiler dogs attacked her dog. Michael Leonard was listed as the one who was handling the dogs. Scott's dog suffered wounds to its hind legs, according to her lawsuit.
On July 5, Susan Waymire was jogging on a path in Tualatin Community Park with her leashed dog, an English pointer named Lucy, when she reported that Edward Leonard's dog, Carl, attacked her dog. According to her lawsuit, Waymire's dog was injured on the chest, stomach, groin and legs, and Waymire herself was bitten on the hand and leg.
After each attack, Scott and Waymire took their dogs to local vets to be treated. And after each attack, the lawsuits claim that the Leonards offered no apologies. Scott reported feeling threatened by Michael Leonard. And Waymire said that the Leonards left the park and did not offer any contact information.
'These ladies are really concerned with the continual nature of the dogs being brought to the park,' said Dozier. 'The intent of the lawsuit is to get (the Leonards') attention that something needs to be done.'
Michael had told police that the leash on his father's rottweiler had come undone just as Waymire and her dog were jogging by. But according to witnesses and Waymire, the Leonards' dogs were running off leash. The Tualatin Community Park is a leash-only park.
Last month Washington County Animal Services issued Edward and Michael Leonard each five citations for the Waymire dog attack. The citations were for failure to prevent acts of nuisance for a dog, biting a person and another animal, having a dangerous dog and failure to prevent running at large.
When contacted by The Times on Tuesday Edward Leonard refused to comment on the lawsuits but did note that he and Michael do not go to the Tualatin Community Park anymore with the dogs.
Edward Leonard has been identified as man in his 80s who was driving his scooter chair when his dogs reportedly attacked Waymire and her dog.
Dozier said that the current lawsuits brought against the Leonards is not meant to be vindictive.
'The fact is the dogs are well known in the community for biting dogs and people in the community,' Dozier said.
Washington County Animal Services does have a bite report on the rottweiler Carl from January of 2006. A 45-year-old woman reported being bit.
The lawsuits filed by Scott and Waymire also reference a bite incident in which the Leonard's rottweilers entered a person's home to attack a dog that was sitting inside the house.
The lawsuits also claim that the rottweilers were trained as attack animals before the Leonards purchased them four or five years ago.
According to the lawsuits, Scott and Waymire have 'endured the fear and trauma of the described dog attack(s) and its aftermath as well as worry for the health and wellbeing of (their) companion dog(s).' The women are each seeking non-economic damages against the Leonards in an amount to be determined by a jury, but never to exceed the sum of $150,000 each.
Waymire's lawsuit also claims that she is 'too afraid to go jogging in her local city park and enjoy it because the defendants have continued to allow their dogs to roam free therein.'