There are over 60 million households in the US that own a dog or dogs. All sizes, shapes, breeds, and temperaments. In a small Missouri town, a pair of boxers escaped the confines of their backyard and roamed the small sleepy streets of the community of Rogersville, Missouri until they found a victim. A wrongful death civil lawsuit was brought in April, by the son of an 85-year-old gentleman, Werner Fritz Vogt, who was allegedly mauled by the pair of boxers while riding his bicycle in a wooded are near Rogersville, Christian County Missouri. The alleged mauling resulted in Mr. Vogt’s death several weeks later.
After the attack, authorities never suspected domesticated dogs as being the attackers after Mr. Vogt, from his own hospital bed, pointed to photos of coyotes as being the culprits of the deadly attack. Brad Cole, Christian County Sheriff stated that everything changed in his eyes when neighbors in the Rogersville area had reported many instances of dogs roaming the streets. After Mr. Vogt’s death, detectives started to canvas the area near the place the departed was attacked and rounded up several dogs. DNA samples were taken from the animals and sent to a lab at the University of Florida along with the clothes that Mr. Vogt was wearing at the time of the attack. The detectives were hoping that a DNA match might be found between the dogs tested and the DNA found on the clothes of Mr. Vogt. It was the first time Sheriff Cole had ever conducted DNA testing of dogs in a case.
The Sheriff and his detectives were right and the test proved successful, this led detectives to the home of Joseph and Lindsay Brink, the owners of the two suspected dogs. The Brinks’ were later named in the wrongful death civil suit as defendants. Although the case was filed in April a settlement of $300,000 was reached quickly for “a case of this size” said Bard Sillings, Christian County Circuit Clerk. The settlement is not an admission of liability by the defendants, but it does require them to pay $300,000 “as the result of the death of Werner Fritz Vogt.”
About one-third will go to Vernon Vogt, Werner Vogt’s son. About $87,000 will pay for Vogt’s medical expenses before he died, and the rest will be collected by the law firm representing the family.
In most instances, dogs live up to their epithet of “man’s best friend”. But, according to the CDC, over 4.5 million people are bitten each year in the United States, and up to 20% of those bites become infected.
Although over half of dog bites are committed by dogs that familiar with the people they’re biting, it is possible for a bite to come from a strange dog. Examples include a neighbor’s dog or someone with their dog at the park. If you’re ever attacked by a domestic animal, like a dog or cat, document the incident well, seek medical attention, and contact an attorney. An experienced attorney will help you garner whether you have a case for medical reimbursement and compensation for the injuries.
For more information on keeping you and your family safe around dogs, as well as what to do if you are bitten, visit the CDC’s website.