A Tucson man who lost his right arm after it was mangled by a retired police dog has sued Pima County, the Sheriff's department, animal control and the deputy who owned the dog.
According to the suit, filed Nov. 23 in Pima County Superior Court, Alexander Dufour was trimming his backyard trees on April 19 when Bronco, an 11-year-old Belgian Malinois, attacked Dufour and his golf cart without provocation.
The dog "chewed" on Dufour for about 10 minutes before tiring and lying down five feet away, the lawsuit says. When Dufour tried to move, the dog attacked him again and continued to attack him until its owner, Deputy John Summey, arrived.
Dufour, then 83, was rushed to University Medical Center where doctors amputated his right arm because it was damaged so badly. He has since had several other surgeries.
Dufour's attorneys claim the county, animal control and the Sheriff's Department are guilty of negligence because county personnel knew Bronco's trainer had problems getting him to stop biting. The county also knew the dog had hurt three people while on-duty and a fourth person off-duty.
According to the suit, animal control ruled Bronco wasn't dangerous despite knowing he bit someone while off-duty and had "been trained to be a dangerous animal with a ferocious and mischievous disposition, and trained to be accustomed to attack mankind."
Animal control and the Sheriff's Department also knew the dog had a habit of escaping from its handler's yard, the suit says.
Moreover, it says despite the dog's training, the Sheriff's Department and the county agreed to give the dog to Summey "instead of either retraining it to become habitable with humankind or euthanizing."
The attack came less than four months after the dog was retired and given to Summey.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Tom Dugal declined to comment on the suit, saying he had yet to see it.
The dog was euthanized the day of the attack and Deputy County Attorney Kathleen Mayer declined to pursue criminal charges against Summey, saying there was no evidence Summey knew the dog would attack and injure a person without provocation — the legal definition for assault by a vicious animal.
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