Dog walking service sued over alleged attack

By Jon Campisi | Sep 13, 2011

A Northwest Philadelphia woman who claims that she was severely injured after being bitten by a dog is suing the dog’s owners, the person who was walking the dog at the time of the alleged incident and the company that employed the dog walker who had control over the animal at the time of the attack.

Philadelphia attorney Thomas J. Bass filed the personal injury complaint Sept. 9 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Ellen Koehler, who resides in the city’s Roxborough section.

The defendants named in the suit are Tariq and Rachel Sheikh, the owners of the dog; the Sniffle and Friends Dog Walking service, which is based in Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood; and James M. Tyrrell, Jr., the Port Richmond man who was walking the dog at the time of the alleged incident.

According to the complaint, Tyrrell was walking the defendant’s pit bull/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix back on July 23, 2010, when the animal got loose and “violently attacked” and bit Koehler.

The incident, which occurred during an unspecified time and at an unspecified location, caused Koehler to sustain serious injuries to her neck, shoulders, body and limbs, the suit states.

Specifically, she suffered several dog puncture wounds, a swollen and infected left arm, scarring and a general feeling of malaise.

The lawsuit claims that Koehler has had to expend various sums of money on expenses related to medical care and treatment, and that she has been prevented from carrying out her regular duties and occupations.

She has also undergone great physical pain and mental anguish, the suit states.

The complaint accuses the defendants of maintaining a public nuisance, failing to warn the plaintiff of the dog’s “vicious propensities,” failing to physical restrain the dog, failing to properly leash and/or chain the dog, allowing the dog to break loose in a public place, and failing to remove the dog after notice of its vicious propensities.

For each of the four counts listed in the lawsuit, Koehler seeks judgment against the defendants, jointly and severally, in an amount in excess of $50,000, plus other court related costs.

A jury trial is not being sought.

The case number is 110900569.

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