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Athens group settles dog-bite suit

By Holly Hollman
DAILY Staff Writer 340-2445

A Lexington woman's lawsuit against Athens-Limestone Humane Society and one of its members over a dog bite was settled in mediation, according to Mary Beth Wescott, president of the local society.

"The Athens-Limestone Humane Society has been cleared in the case," Wescott said.

In 2004, Connie David filed a suit in Lauderdale County.

The suit claimed that the organization and member Jim Thompson knew that a German shepherd, which Thompson brought to the Lexington home of David's fiance for possible adoption, was aggressive. She stated in the suit that their negligence led to the dog attacking her.

She was suing for a jury to determine compensation.

A clerk with the Lauderdale County circuit clerk's office said records indicate the parties settled the case in mediation Feb. 11, but the office has not received paperwork detailing the settlement.

Wescott said she did not know settlement details other than the society's exoneration. Wescott said the accident traumatized Thompson and he "was extremely upset for Ms. David and the dog."

She said Thompson and his wife offered to pay David's medical expenses. She said they had been foster parents for the dog for about nine months.

David was not available for comment.

"It was an unfortunate accident, and we sympathize with Ms. David," Wescott said. "Sometimes, a pet's temperament can change when the animal feels scared or threatened."

David told THE DAILY in 2004 that Thompson had the dog on a retractable leash. It never growled. When she bent down and petted the dog, he bit her arm twice, causing enough damage to require 120 stitches and skin grafts. The bites damaged the nerves between the bite and her wrist beyond repair, she said.

An Athens veterinarian euthanized the dog.

Wescott said she could not comment on the specifics of the dog bite, but said people should always be cautious with an unfamiliar dog.

"Do not make sudden moves," she said. "If it attacks, never kick it, as it will feel the need to protect itself and probably result in more damage being done to you."

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