Woman sues over alleged Menlo Park dog attack

Lawsuit names dog's owner and rescue organization

A woman who said she was maimed during a dog attack at Nealon Park in Menlo Park filed a lawsuit Dec. 4 against the owner of a German shepherd that she said bit her, and against the rescue organization that adopted out the dog.

Angela Otero's lawsuit alleges that while her dog Ollie, a Golden Retriever-poodle mix, was playing in the park on Nov. 6, another woman -- defendant Laurie Furman -- dropped off the German shepherd and then walked outside the fence to talk on a cellphone.

The German shepherd then attacked Ollie, according to the court filing, biting the smaller dog around the throat. Ms. Otero said she was bitten on her right hand as she tried to separate the dogs, the complaint states, and lost part of her middle finger.

Peninsula Humane Society spokesman Scott Delucchi told the Almanac the shepherd was ordered quarantined at home for 10 days as a standard procedure to rule out rabies; the dog was current on vaccinations and neutered.

Neither Ms. Furman nor the rescue organization were immediately available for comment.

According to Ms. Otero's complaint, during the attack Ms. Furman remained outside the fence in violation of posted dog park rules that require owners to supervise and maintain control at all times. Ms. Otero said other people at the park reportedly tried and failed to get the owner's attention.

The complaint also names German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California. Ms. Furman allegedly adopted her dog through the organization in October. The lawsuit states that the organization as well as the owner should have known the dog was dangerous, and therefore acted negligently by failing to make sure the German shepherd would be kept in a safe manner.

According to documents posted on the rescue organization's website, prospective owners must complete a questionaire, interview and home visit before being allowed to adopt a dog. The website notes that many of the dogs come from unknown backgrounds and "cannot warrant or guarantee any dog's future behavior" as a result.

The lawsuit asks for damages, including punitive, and court costs. The Lanier Law Firm of Palo Alto is representing the plaintiff; the defendants have not yet retained attorneys. A case conference has been scheduled for May 10 in San Mateo County Superior Court.

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Like this comment
Posted by Janet
a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Weekend Acres
on Dec 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm

If the plaintiff's dog was adult and not neutered, as is rumored, she was asking for her dog and herself to get attacked, as anyone owning dogs knows. Someone who brings an unneutered male dog to a dog park is a danger to everyone else there. It is unethical to sue the rescue group since most rescues will tell the foster parents NOT to take their dogs to a dog park. I pity both dogs since both owners seem to be idiots

Like this comment
Posted by Some Guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 14, 2012 at 8:30 am

Whats the point of suing the rescue agency? They are hardly responsible for this.
I really hate our litigious society, it's really a step backward.
It is a shame for the dogs, especially since the German Shepard is probably going to be destroyed because of this.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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