Dog Attack: County Officials Sued By Estate Of Woman Killed By Neighbors’ Dogs

| by Phyllis M Daugherty
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The estate of a Dayton, Ohio, woman mauled to death by two dogs last year claims that Montgomery County officials had ample warning, "regarding the obvious and dangerous presence of her neighbors' dogs, either on her real property or in pursuit of her," but failed to take action to abate the problem and protect her, WDTN reports.

On February 7, 2014, after Klonda Richey had made approximately sixteen 911 calls and filed approximately 12 reports with the Montgomery County Animal Resources Center (ARC), according to the complaint, the two Mastiff-mixes attacked and killed her.

Barbara Schneider, the executor of Klonda Richey’s estate, names Montgomery County Commissioners, Montgomery County Animal Resource Center, its director, and several other people whose identities are not known at this time, in the wrongful death lawsuit. Richey's estate seeks a jury trial, reports WDTN.

The complaint also states that their, “decision to take no action on any of her complaints and utter disregard for their statutory duties and Ms. Richey’s safety were willful, wanton, reckless and malicious.”

This is the second lawsuit filed by the estate, the first being against the owners of the dogs, Andrew Nason and Julie Custer, whose property adjoined that of Klonda Richey. Neither Nason nor Custer has been charged in regard to the attack. They were arrested immediately after the horrific mauling occurred and later released.

According to court documents, Richey built a double-walled fence and installed video cameras to monitor her neighbor's "vicious and uncontrolled dogs" at her East Bruce Avenue home, reports ABC22Now.

On Sept. 12, 2012, Richey had filed a petition for a protection order against the owner of the dogs.

On Jan. 7, 2013, she spent 30 minutes testifying about what she considered ongoing harassment. The dog owner testified also and told the court that nobody’s life is in danger, WDTN reports.

The request was not granted by Magistrate Kristi Wuebben, although the surveillance video of a man and one of the dogs on her property was reportedly shown in court. The surveillance video can be seen here.

On September 11, 2014, Montgomery County prosecutor Mat Heck and Dayton Police Chief Richard discussed at a press conference the Grand Jury’s decision not to return an indictment against the dog owners in the Richey case, reports Fox45Now. They stated that the determination had to be made in accordance with current state law, citing that neither dog had a record of having bitten any animal or human and neither had been declared vicious or dangerous in the past.

The complaint states: "From Ms. Richey's many requests, Defendants were fully aware of the serious threat of imminent physical harm or death posed by the vicious dogs kept by her neighbor.

"Yet they chose to do nothing to control the dogs contrary to Ohio law. ...Defendants failed to remove the dogs from the premises or otherwise provide for other relief of Ms. Richey's concerns, culminating in Ms. Richey's untimely and brutal death," ABC22Now reports.

The lawsuit seeks $25,000 in damages, funeral and burial expenses, punitive damages and attorneys' fees.

Read more:  Dangerous Dogs: Ohio Proposes Tough Laws to Stop Dog Attacks

Sources: WDTN, (2), (3), ABC 22, Fox 45 / Photo Credit: Provided, WikiCommons