Woman injured in dog attack files lawsuit

Woman injured in dog attack files lawsuit

Highland Police are still working on charges against the owner of a dog horde that mauled a woman and killed her dog Tuesday, but the victim has already filed a civil suit against her.

Court documents filed Friday morning show that Highland attorneys David Gladish and Mark Schocke have entered a complaint against Luz Adorno and Tracy Abbott on behalf of Amber Neyhart, the 28-year-old Highland woman who was attacked. Abbott is the owner of the house in the 3500 block of Jewett Street; Adorno, who owns the nine surviving puppies involved in the attack as well as the mother dog that was shot and killed, was renting the house.

In a separate filing also entered Friday, Abbott has moved to evict Adorno, according to court records.

Neyhart alleges in the complaint that Abbott and Adorno “were the owners and/or had control of numerous pit bull dogs” and that they “allowed a dangerous condition to exist on their property.” The dogs then “proceeded to attack and bite (Neyhart) and her dog, resulting in severe injuries to her body that required medical care as well as emotional distress from witnessing the death of her dog,” the filing reads.

“Defendants breached the duty of care owed to the Plaintiff, resulting in the Plaintiff being attacked and bitten by their multiple dogs,” court records said. “… Plaintiff respectfully requests judgment against Defendants Luz Adorno and Tracy Abbott in an amount of money that will adequately compensate her for the damages she has sustained and will continue to sustain, for costs of this action and for all other just and proper relief in the premises.”

Schocke, who is also a Highland town councilman, and Gladish also filed a subpoena for Adorno on behalf of Neyhart and a second victim, Erika Fink. Adorno’s eviction hearing is Sept. 22 in Magistrate David Urbanski’s court.

The civil suit is separate from the actions the Town of Highland will take against Adorno regarding the dogs. The Highland Police Commission will hold a hearing to declare the dogs “dangerous animals and then proceed with the penalties set forth in the ordinance,” Town Council President Tom Black said Thursday.

“Any person found guilty of owning or housing a dangerous dog … shall have his or her permit or license to own, keep or to have custody of animals automatically revoked and no new permit or license shall be issued for a period of two years and only after hearing and approval by the metropolitan board of police commissioners for the town of Highland upon a determination that such person is not disposed to a repetition of such violations of this chapter,” the ordinance reads. The animal warden is also allowed to order “humane destruction” of the dog or dogs if they’re determined to be extremely dangerous, but there are appeals to which the owner can enlist.

Highland Police at around 9:18 p.m. August 8 were sent to the corner of Johnston and Jewett Streets for a report of dogs fighting with another dog and a gun fired at the location, Highland Police spokesman Cmdr. John Banasiak said in a release Thursday. The officers arrived to “the chaotic scene” and learned Neyhart was walking her dog down the street when a group of American Bully breed dogs that had escaped their fenced-in backyard attacked her Husky.

Neyhart tried to shield her Husky from the horde but ended up getting severely bitten by the “larger mother dog,” Banasiak said. Bystanders who tried to help her and the dog also were bitten, he said.

The Husky was able to break free from the attack for a moment, but the dogs caught up with it and continued attacking. Then a man who not previously at the scene pulled out a gun and shot one of the dogs before leaving. No one there seemed to either know him or want to identify him, the Post-Tribune previously reported.

Michelle L. Quinn is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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