Last February, Susan Roehm was permanently disfigured when a Travis County deputy’s dog bit her in the face and dragged her several feet during a training session. She’s now filing suit against Travis County, Sherriff Greg Hamilton and James Moore, the deputy who owns the dog.
The training exercise was held by Travis County Search and Rescue, an all-volunteer group based in Austin. Moore did not inform Roehm that the dog–a large Belgian Malinois–had been “bite-trained” and that he did not know how to handle the dog in a situation with a non-threatening civilian. Had he made this clear, says Roehm’s attorney, she would never have agreed to be a part of the exercise.
When she was bitten, Roehm was participating in what the rescue team calls a “bark barrel.” Essentially, a volunteer hides inside a plastic barrel and a rescue dog searches for the person. When they find the individual, the dog barks just like it would in a real search and rescue operation.
Moore’s dog didn’t bark, however, but opened the plastic lid to the barrel and bit Roehm’s face as it had been trained to do when confronting dangerous criminals. It dragged her out of the barrel and bit her at least once more. The attack caused multiple lacerations on her face and tore away a significant part of her cheek. Roehm is now seeking damages for owner negligence and use of excessive force.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you may be owed compensation as well. Contact the Kyle Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation and learn about your legal options.