A jury decided to award $856,000 (603,965 EUR) to a boy who was bitten multiple times by a Rottweiler running free on a Hawaiian beach.
Keeton Manguso, who was 2 1/2 years old and weighed 24 pounds (11 kilograms) when he was bitten on Mother's Day 2005, suffered bite marks on his arms, hip and back, and the dog did not get off until a former college football player punched him in the head, according to attorney Jim Bickerton, who represented Keeton and his mother.
The boy's mother, Veronica Tomooka, said the lawsuit was never about the money.
"It was strictly to have her see what we went through and have a jury judge her," Tomooka said of the dog's owner.
Mariko Bereday denied that her dog bit the boy and said she plans to appeal the verdict, which a Hawaii Circuit Court jury delivered Friday. She claimed afterward that photos of Keeton's injuries were faked.
Bereday had been cited once before and warned five times to keep her dogs on a leash, according to a 2003 letter to her from the Hawaiian Humane Society that was presented in the trial.
Bickerton said the verdict shows the importance of leash rules. "Too many people want to enjoy the pleasure of running with their dogs at the beach and don't stop to think about the risk that poses, particularly to children," she said.
Five days after Keeton was bitten at Kahala Beach, Bereday was on the beach with the same dog, and it attacked a 4-year-old girl. The dog was ordered to be destroyed, but the case is being appealed. Bereday was sentenced to five days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Bereday insists the dog is docile and not aggressive, said her attorney, Paul Yamamura.
"She didn't know the dog could do this," he said.
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