Family Members Indicted After Pit Bulls Attack Severely Disabled Woman

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Susan and Norman Demski, both 56, were  indicted on Wednesday, September 17, on felony charges for patient endangerment. The charges stemmed from accusations that they left Norman’s 53-year-old mentally and physically disabled sister, Lori, alone for five hours at their home at 940 Southover Rd., during which time three pit bulls the couple were “pet sitting” got loose and attacked her.

The West Toledo, Ohio, pair were legal guardians of Lori Demski at the time. She suffered an attack by the three pit bulls, which left the impaired woman with two broken arms and numerous dog bite wounds, reports the Toledo Blade.

Susan Demski explained that she and her husband have been caring for his mentally and physically disabled sister Lori for 21 years.

"I feed her, bathe her, make sure she is clean, make sure she has everything she needs," Susan told Toledo News Now.

Susan told police investigators that, when she left Lori alone that day, she  only planned to be gone for a few minutes but she ended up being away from the house for two hours. At that time, Norman and Susan were dog sitting three pit bulls, which she thought she had securely locked up. 

Investigators say Norman called 911 after returning home from work and finding his sister on the floor being attacked by two of the dogs. It is unclear if the third pit bull was actually involved.  

Investigators report Lori “was lying amongst dog feces on the floor of a roach-infested house,” which the couple denies.

"I had one [pit bull] upstairs and one downstairs and I do not know how they got out," Susan told Toledo News Now.

According to affidavits by a nurse who treated her at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Lori Demsi suffered “numerous dog bites from the bottom of her feet to the top of her head” and wounds to both arms."

A police report notes a nurse stated the victim also suffered fractures to both arms.

In another deeply disturbing aspect of this case, police stated that the nurse reported the victim also had what appeared to be human bites on her thighs, buttocks and shoulder.   

Lucas County Probate Court  records provided by the Toledo Blade, show that guardianship documents state Lori Demski suffered from grand mal seizures and has an IQ of less than 45. She had the functionality of a four- to five-year-old child.

According to the Blade, in 2000, a case worker from the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities reported to police injuries on Lori Demski that appeared to be the result of abuse.

The case never resulted in charges because the injuries, a doctor ruled, could have been from falling, which Lori Demski is prone to do, according to various court documents.

The Demski couple was originally  arraigned and charged on September 1 in Toledo Municipal Court with patient abuse and neglect and  they were released on their own recognizance, despite the prosecutor’s request for $50,000 bond.

At that time both Susan and Norman Demski were ordered to have no contact with the victim, who remained in the hospital in “fair” condition after surgery, according to the Toledo Blade.

 Judge William Connelly, Jr. ordered, as part of the arraignment agreement, that if the victim were released from the hospital, she was to not return to her brother and sister-in-law's care.

The pit bulls that attacked the victim were seized by Lucas County Canine Care and Control and are being  held in “bite quarantine” for 10 days.  Phillip Wall, 27, who told reporters he is the son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Demski, owns the dogs, according to the police report.

Norman and Susan Demski each face up to three years in prison if convicted of the third-degree felony.

Source: Toledo Blade, Toldeo News Now