Thursday, June 11, 2009
Minneapolis, MN - The Minneapolis City Council agreed to pay $367,000 to settle legal claims brought by Paula Ybarra, who was horribly attacked last year by dogs that the city had declared dangerous but not confiscated. Ybarra, who nearly died and continues to be at risk for a stroke due to severe throat injuries, sued the city on behalf of herself and two daughters.
Ybarra still has a lawsuit pending against the owner of the dogs, Thomas Mohrbacker. This suit scheduled to go to trial next spring, but the City Council agreed to a settlement on Friday. "We all agreed it was the right thing to do. We all recognized that this was a profound human tragedy," said Council Member Paul Ostrow, in whose ward the attack occurred. Ybarra's attorney, Kurtis Greenley, said Ybarra is "very pleased."
DogsBite.org wishes the settlement amount was doubled.Ybarra was visiting Mohrbacker, a friend since high school, when the attack occurred as her daughter, Cassandra, then 4 years old, went inside to use a bathroom. A 150-pound bulldog named Bo Bo knocked Cassandra over. Then that dog and a 60-pound pit bull attacked Ybarra when she bent to pick up her daughter. She emerged from the house with blood spurting from her neck in front of her daughter, Adriana, then 9.
When help arrived, Ybarra barely had a pulse and had stopped breathing, according to the lawsuit. Greenley said both daughters have received counseling since witnessing the attack. Ybarra had incurred at least $225,000 in medical expenses by last May. She also reportedly had to sell her house to pay these bills. She's experienced difficulty breathing and swallowing and partial loss of speaking ability, according to her claim.
05/25/08: Minneapolis Victim Sues Vicious Dog Owner and Animal Control
01/18/08: Minneapolis Retools Dangerous Dog Ordinance
01/12/08: New Type of Surgery Used For Dog Attack Victim
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| 11/08/2008 2:05 PM |
Did you read this in the comments?
"Animal Control is a Joke...
...in Minneapolis. After our redneck neighbors left a gate open and their precious pitbull , who would never hurt a flea, latched onto my dog and nearly killed him I wound up in "doggie court". The city declared the dog dangerous, then a bleeding heart "dog judge" overturned it with a gentle slap on the wrist and a promise to fix the gate. The city again declared the dog dangerous after further investigation due to the severity of the wounds, and guess what? Another "dog judge" trial later, and the decision was overturned yet again. This animal still remains in our Northeast Mpls neighborhood and terrorizes anyone that comes near it, much to the delight of its tough-guy wannabe owner. This dog was rescued from a Pitbull shelter and should have been put down long ago. The irresponsible owners claim the dog was "confused and scared" after moving two blocks away, and the city bought that garbage hook, line and sinker. The other frightened neighbors even went as far as to sign a petition calling for removal of the dog, but it was roundly ignored by the city, who instead felt sorry for the owners and their clearly vicious pitbull.
We need to get the names of the judges right out in black and white who let these dangerous dogs back into public to maim and kill.
These judges need to be held responsible for the death and harm.
And we need to start keeping track of communities with dangerous dog judges.
Did you notice that the dog came from a pit bull shelter?
It is time to start hitting these "shelters" and rescues with lawsuits. They are directly causing harm by releasing these dogs.
| 11/08/2008 2:21 PM |
Last year New York City paid out $5Million when a police officer pick up a pit off the street, gave it to a family and the dog turned out to be a freddy kreuger.
Recently, a Florida school district paid out $1.8 million when a student was disfigured by a pit on school grounds.
The cost to taxpayers keeps rising...
| 11/08/2008 2:51 PM |
Here's a problem in Minneapolis
JUDGES adjudicating dog related cases that themselves have aggressive dogs and dog problems
This Judge Kevin Burke
Wonder if this judge is a breeder? The breeders are quite opposed to dangerous dog laws and constantly fight to weaken them, and give dogs extra "chances"
| 11/09/2008 4:43 AM |
For the city not to have fought this in Court, there must have been a massive, indefensible Animal Control breakdown leading to this mauling...This is a collossal precedent as typically A/C breakdowns are rarely investigated nor are the offending agencies held accountable.
| 11/09/2008 12:48 PM |
The individual Animal Control officers responsible for leaving that dog there to attack again should also be sued
Am I right in assuming that the AC people that failed so massively are still on the payroll there? Ready to do it again? What controls have been put in place
| 11/09/2008 12:58 PM |
Legally, it's tough to say. In the Spotsville case, the county/government could not be sued but the "individual negligent" AC officers could be. These officers, I assume, broke policy in their actions of the dogs that killed Dorothy Sullivan.
| 11/09/2008 2:23 PM |
I'd like to alert dogsbite readers to another growing trend in the "pit bull rescue" community....the placing of former fighting dogs as pets by claiming they were "bait dogs". There is a growing trend of "rescue angels" explaining away dog-aggression and obvious scarring and injuries, by claiming the dog was used as a bait dog. Potential adopters are led to believe that the dog the shelter workers are trying to "sell" them was "forced" to fight, and was a victim, not an aggressor.
The ridiculousness of these claims is not immediately obvious to potential adopters; how would shelter workers know the dog was a bait dog and not simply the loser in an organized dog fight? The answer is, they don't. It is unlikely that a real bait dog would have survived....claiming every scarred up pit bull was a victim and not a willing opponent makes it easier to adopt out dangerous pit bulls....by preying upon the tender hearts of animal lovers who don't understand the true nature of the fighting breeds.
Please share this warning with others in the dog-loving community......encouraging the placement of highly dog aggressive pit bulls in our communities puts all of our companion animals in danger.
| 3/10/2009 2:08 PM |
March 10, 2009 UPDATE:
No new information has been discovered regarding the lawsuit against Thomas Mohrbacker. Various rumors are floating about, including that Mohrbacker committed suicide, but these rumors remain unverified. What we do know is the following:
Paul Ybarra was attacked by Mohrbacker's dogs March 26, 2007. She was nearly killed in the attack. The 160-pound American bulldog named Bo Bo cut a hole in her windpipe damaging a major artery and her voice box. Merlin, a 65-pound pit bull, was also in the room at the time of the attack.
Prior to the attack (December 2006), Bo Bo bit the shoulder of a child. Several months after the attack on Ybarra (May 2007), Mohrbacker was arrested for missing a court appearance. Mohrbacker was charged with three misdemeanors for not registering his dogs as dangerous after the incident in December and for their role in the mauling of Paula Ybarra in March.
In May of 2008, Ybarra sued Animal Control and Mohrbacker after incurring more than $225,000 worth of medical treatment. Ybarra was forced to sell her home to pay her medical bills. Up until this time, Ybarra had not publicly blamed Mohrbacker for the attack.
In November 2008, Ybarra was awarded a settlement by the City of Minneapolis ($367,000). The 2009 "spring" trial against Mohrbacker is apparently still pending.
| 6/02/2009 2:12 PM |
The StarTribune recently reported the suicide (June 1, 2009):
"The push for compliance grew out of incidents like the one that changed Ybarra's life and has claimed several others. She was attacked by a pit bull and bulldog at a northeast Minneapolis home, and she nearly died from throat injuries. The dogs were destroyed. The incident claimed a final life this year, when owner Thomas Mohrbacker, who was sued by Ybarra, killed himself.
The episode cost the city $367,000 -- the amount it paid to settle Ybarra's claim that the city should have confiscated the dangerous dogs before they had a chance to attack her. The city was already moving to toughen its restrictions when the attack happened. Afterward, it installed Dan Niziolek as animal control manager."