A Colorado woman was the recipient of a $1 million settlement earlier this month in a dog attack case.
Renee Legro, who was 33 at the time of the 2008 attack, was mauled by two Great Pyrenees dogs in the mountains near Vail, Colorado while participating in a mountain bike race. It was nearly twenty minutes before campers in the area heard her screams and came to her aid. By the time rescuers reached Legro, she had sustained significant injuries from the predator dogs. An emergency room doctor said he “lost count” of the number of stitches used to close her wounds. (Source: Los Angeles Times).
Great Pyrenees, also known as Pyrenean Mountain dogs, weigh from 85 to 120 pounds and are typically used to guard livestock. They are powerful enough to fend off bears. However, the Great Pyrenees Club of America states that although the breed is naturally aggressive with any perceived predator that may harm its flock, it can typically be trusted with small, young, helpless animals of any kind and small children.
In Legro’s case, she was likely viewed as a predator when she came upon the dogs that day in July 2008. One of the dogs locked its jaws on her hip and pulled her off the bike. The second dog pounced on her as she fell.
Local Rancher Owned Dogs Who Attacked
The dogs were working as guard dogs for a herd of sheep owned by rancher Sam Robinson. The sheep (more than 1,000 of them) had been grazing the land for several years with the permission of the national forest service. Robinson told the Los Angeles Times that ranchers turned to guard dogs for protection of their livestock after Colorado banned the use of traps to prevent mountain lions, coyotes and bears from attacking grazing livestock. The land is part of a former Army training camp (Camp Hale) and is a huge draw to summer recreationists. The attack occurred on a public road in the White River National Forest.
The mountain bike race organizers, the Vail Recreation District, also had permission to use the land. Robinson had previously been twice convicted of owning a dangerous dog, a misdemeanor in Colorado.
Legro and her husband, Stephen, were not strangers to the varied terrains of Colorado and had encountered dogs of this type on a few occasions as they spent much of their leisure time hiking, biking and skiing in the state before Ms. Legro was injured. Little did they know when the attack occurred that they would spend the next seven and one half years in complex litigation amid various dismissals and appeals. The final settlement came about when the Robinsons’ insurance, Travelers, agreed to pay the Legros the maximum amount under the Travelers’ policy.
The Legros initially filed a complaint against the Robinsons alleging negligence, negligence per se, loss of consortium and strict liability pursuant to the Colorado dog bite statute. In a strict liability dog bite case in Colorado, or in response to a common-law negligence claim, there are several defenses including “the dog(s) was working as a hunting, herding, farm or ranch dog.”
As the case progressed there were several issues raised including determination of Legros’ status subject to the land (trespasser or invitee) on which she was biking. On December 31, 2015, the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed an earlier district court order and remanded (returned) the case to the district court for further proceedings. (See 2015 COA 183.No.15CA0486. Legro v. Robinson for further details about the case).
The settlement was announced February 10, 2016.
Dog Attacks in Ohio
If you have been seriously injured by a dog in Ohio, please do not hesitate to seek medical help immediately and legal help if necessary. Above all, do not wait to see if your injuries become worse before seeing a doctor or going to an emergency room. Do not start to have misgivings about possibly suing someone. Of course, every case is not as complex or lengthy as the Legros’ but when you are injured due to the negligence or recklessness of other(s), you deserve compensation for the inability to live your normal life, for your medical expenses and for work and paychecks you may miss due to your injuries.
Please contact us for a free consultation by calling 1-888-998-9101, chat with one of our 24-hour live chat operators or send us a website message. Our attorneys are highly experienced with dog bite cases across Ohio.
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