STAMFORD CT - THE CITY IS BEING SUED BY A MAN WHO WAS BITTEN BY A DOG AT THE ANIMAL SHELTER
A city man who was bitten by a dog at the animal shelter while looking to adopt an animal has sued the city for what could be a six-figure amount.
Stamford resident Matthew Lazarus visited the Stamford Animal Control facility on Magee Avenue on Sept. 25, 2012, looking for a dog to adopt. One dog -- a Rottweiler named Bosco -- was identified as a potential fit, and a volunteer brought him out of the kennel to see how the dog would interact with Lazarus.
"One of the volunteers that was there took the dog out to him to introduce them, and the dog attacked him," Lazarus' lawyer, Alan Pickel, said Tuesday afternoon.
The dog had a history of violent behavior, Pickel said, and no one warned Lazarus of this.
"He was not told, and no one made him aware that this dog had a history," Lazarus said.
Lazarus suffered injuries to his hand and arm as a result of the attack and required surgery for his wounds. According to the lawsuit, Lazarus suffered puncture wounds to his right palm, which required surgery to repair the ulnar nerve in his wrist and elbow. In addition, it caused a deformity to his hand and decreased sensation to his right pinky and ring fingers, among other problems. As a result of the injury, Lazarus was unable to perform some of the duties required of him in his job.
The complaint alleges the city "knew or should have known, and had reason to know, of the vicious and dangerous propensities of the dog," and that the city failed to give notice of or warn the defendant about these propensities. Further, the suit claims the city failed to protect the plaintiff from imminent harm and that the city "failed to properly restrain the vicious and dangerous dog when the plaintiff was present on said defendant's premises."
dangerous propensities of the dog," and that the city failed to give notice of or warn the defendant about these propensities. Further, the suit claims the city failed to protect the plaintiff from imminent harm and that the city "failed to properly restrain the vicious and dangerous dog when the plaintiff was present on said defendant's premises."
While court paperwork simply shows Lazarus seeks at least $15,000 in damages, Pickel said the extent of the medical treatments and other resulting problems will likely result in a six-figure case.
"Thus far, the city has refused to take responsibility," Pickel said.
The complaint was filed March 7, a little more than a month before the city began investigating the animal shelter after learning that potentially vicious dogs had been adopted out to new owners that had not been made aware of previous violent incidents. Last week, Mayor David Martin announced the investigation found former Animal Control ManagerLaurie Hollywood failed to manage shelter volunteers' activities properly, among other claims. Hollywood was terminated, and two days later she was charged with three counts of reckless endangerment.
Shortly after the mayor's announcement, Emmett told the Advocate that while there was a suit pending against the city for an incident at the shelter, that incident was separate from the three itemized in the city report, each of which included actual adoptions.
Pickel said this is the first time he has been involved in a suit where a dog bite occurred at a shelter, though he has handled several dog bite cases in the past.
"I wouldn't be surprised if there were other instances of similar situations given the manner that they handled their affairs over there," Pickel said.