Lawsuit launched over alleged pit bull attack

The victim of a pit bull attack last August has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Sundre and two dog owners.

The victim of a pit bull attack last August has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Sundre and two dog owners.

Deanna Wolfe, 26, of Calgary is suing Rita Phillip, Christoforos Zergiotis and the municipality in connection with the Aug. 18 attack in Sundre.

The statement of claim says that Phillip, 57, was the owner of a male pit bull named Cody (Pit bull No. 1) and was living in Sundre Mobile Estates Park. Zergiotis is listed as living in Calgary and was an owner of a male pit bull named Sunny (Pit bull No. 2).

Wolfe’s legal advisor, Maria Grain, said from the Calgary law office of Docken Klym on Monday that they have not received any response from the defendants. Grain said they have been contacted by the town’s insurers.

The statement of claim alleges that Wolfe entered Phillip’s home at the invitation of Phillip and then at some point, Phillip commanded Pit bull No. 1 and Pit bull No. 2 to attack Wolfe.

It’s alleged that after the attack, Phillip left Wolfe at the scene to gamble at a nearby casino.

It’s further alleged that when Phillip left her home, Wolfe was near death. Phillip allegedly left without assisting Wolfe or calling for help.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

In 2011, both pit bulls were deemed dangerous by the Town of Sundre, the claim alleges.

The claim says that Zergiotis and Phillip failed to comply with bylaws related to dogs and vicious dog, as well as a number of other rules such as failing to post proper signs warning of vicious dogs. The town is alleged to have failed to ensure proper signs as stipulated by bylaws, failed to monitor the pit bulls once they were deemed dangerous, failed to destroy the pit bulls, failed to follow up with prior complaints regarding the pit bulls, and any other particulars of negligence that may be proven at the trial.

As a result of the attack, the lawsuit says Wolfe suffered a number of injuries, including loss of an ear; soft tissue and nerve damage resulting in the potential loss of use of both arms; knee disability; and various pain, discomfort and reduced range of motion concerning neck, shoulder, mid back and lower back.

General damages being sought are in the amount of $300,000.

The pit bull named Cody was shot and killed by an RCMP officer at the scene. Another pit bull was brought to a Sundre veterinarian by a town peace officer on Oct. 9 and put down.

Grain said the lawsuit is still in its early stages.

“Our client still requires extensive, ongoing therapy,” said Grain.

Dean Pickering, Sundre’s chief administrative officer, said as long as the town is following its bylaws and procedures and the bylaw officer is doing his job, then that’s “what our job is to do.”

“If they can prove the town was negligent in any way, then the town could be liable for compensation at some point,” said Pickering. “But as long as the town was doing due diligence and the bylaw officer was doing his job — the court has to make that decision essentially.”

A Calgary court earlier ruled that the two owners of the pit bulls never be allowed to own or possess another dog again in Sundre.

Phillip is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in Didsbury court on Wednesday on aggravated assault charges laid by RCMP in relation to the incident.