Did alleged nonresponse to pit bull calls lead to addiction and murder?
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August, 2002:
FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla.– Involved in a landmark case more
than a decade ago pertaining to the legal liability of a humane
society for dog attacks, the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society was
sued again in June 2002 in another case which, if successful, could
extend the liability of animal care and control agencies to indirect
effects of traumatic incidents.
Arthur Cheney, husband of murder victim Rhonda Kimmons
Cheney, 42, contends that PAWS and county officials improperly
ignored complaints about aggressive and vicious behavior by a pit
bull terrier who lived near Florosa in Santa Rosa County.
In February 2001, according to Fort Walton Beach Daily News
police reporter Amber Bollman, “Cheney was attacked and nearly
killed” by the pit bull. She subsequently “won a lawsuit and would
have eventually collected more than $35,000 from the settlement,”
Bollman wrote in September 2001.
However, Cheney was arrested six times on various charges
during 2001 in alleged connection with crack cocaine use, and in
late August 2001 was beaten to death in a hotel room. Alleged crack
addict Raymond James Dunn, 41, of Fort Walton Beach, is charged
with the killing, and transient Terry Glenn Long, 47, is charged
with helping to dump Cheney’s body in nearby woods.
Associated Press reported that Arthur Cheney is contending
that the pit bull attack on Rhonda Cheney caused “long-term physical
and mental suffering,” apparently contributing to her cocaine habit
and, indirectly, to the circumstances of her killing.
For about 10 years the known upper-end liability payment in a
lawsuit against a humane society resulting from a dog attack was the
$425,000 paid by PAWS in 1991 to the family of Nathan Carpenter.
Carpenter, 4, was killed by a wolf hybrid in 1988, two hours
after the shelter sent the dog to his fourth home in under four