A former Eugene couple is being sued for $400,000 in connection with a 2016 pit bull attack that allegedly left a dog trainer with substantial facial injuries.
Kimberly Thompson alleges in the suit that she was attacked without warning at the home of Govinda Mondavi Hogan and Sabrina Renata Maahs while she was evaluating the couple’s 5Â˝-year-old dog. Hogan and Maahs now live in Southern California.
Thompson underwent emergency facial reconstruction surgery after the Sept. 9, 2016, incident, the lawsuit says. It also says the bites “ripp(ed) away a significant part of her mouth and caus(ed) debilitating injuries” to her lips, chin and teeth.
Eugene police confirmed officers responded to the couple’s home in the 4700 block of Manzanita Street after Thompson was bitten by the dog.
In a telephone interview, Hogan said he was bitten in the face by his pit bull as he struggled to pull the dog off Thompson. Police also confirmed Hogan was bitten.
Hogan said he advised Thompson that his dog â€” which he had owned for five years â€” previously had bitten one of his friends, and also that the animal’s aggression appeared to be triggered whenever someone stood over or face-to-face with the dog.
Hogan said Thompson was attacked after she pulled on his leash and got face-to-face with him.
“The dog did exactly what we were saying it would do,” Hogan said. “She essentially provoked it.”
He added that, before the incident, a pit bull rescue organization in Portland had “strongly recommended” he call Thompson for help with his dog. He said the animal began displaying aggressive tendencies after it had been attacked by other canines after reaching the age of 3 or 4.
The lawsuit asserts Hogan and Maahs took no steps to specifically inform Thompson of the dog’s “propensity to attack or bite.”
While the suit identifies Thompson as a dog trainer, a police spokeswoman said records show Thompson contacted authorities in April 2017 to say that she was not a trainer and that she had not been made aware of the dog’s bite history before she visited Hogan’s home.
The dog was seized after the attack and Hogan said he agreed to have the animal euthanized.
Thompson’s lawsuit was filed earlier this month in Lane County Circuit Court. It asserts Thompson’s scars from the attack are permanent, and that she also suffers emotional trauma from the incident.
Thompson’s lawyer, Geordie Duckler of Tigard, did not return a telephone message seeking comment on the case.
While some communities across the nation have banned pit bulls, groups ranging from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to former President Obama’s administration have spoken out against breed-specific legislation.
The American Veterinary Medical Foundation, in a literature review issued in 2014, stated that owners of pit bull-type dogs deal with a strong “breed stigma” but that controlled studies have not identified the breed group as being disproportionately dangerous.
Follow Jack Moran on Twitter @JackMoranRG. Email email@example.com.