SAN BENITO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A San Benito police canine handler is suing the city, claiming that an uncontrolled K-9 bit off part of her ear during a vet appointment.
The plaintiff, Christine Samantha Neri of Cameron County, filed the lawsuit in federal court Wednesday, naming the defendants as the City of San Benito and Officer Rendell Stansbury.
According to the lawsuit, Neri was a trained and licensed police canine trainer and handler, operating a business which trained officers and canines in tactics and procedures for proper handling.
The K-9 officer, Greg, was recently brought down from Chicago after having bitten a relative of its handler.
“Unlike sniffer dogs – who are trained to identify and locate contraband, such as narcotics – ‘Greg’ is a patrol dog, who are trained to be more aggressive,” the lawsuit states.
The document adds that Stansbury, an officer with the San Benito Police Department, was trained by Neri in the necessary procedures of handling the dog. This included keeping the K-9 on a short leash, as well as muzzled.
One week into the training, Greg developed a limp on his paw which required a partial amputation.
On Aug. 5, Stansbury transported the dog to the Pet Care Veterinary Clinic on Ed Carey Drive in Harlingen for a follow-up after the procedure. Neri met with Stansbury at the clinic.
Upon arriving, Stansbury took Greg out of the unit, without him being on a short leash or muzzled, the lawsuit alleges.
Neri claims to have approached the dog to place a muzzle on it, when she noticed an odor coming from his ear.
Suspecting an ear infection, Neri got closer when the K-9 lunged at her.
The lawsuit states that Stansbury noted in an incident report that the K-9 began “attacking her face.”
The resulting injuries included “significant and immediate damage to the right side of her face, which included severe disfigurement,” the document states. Additionally it notes that a piece of her right ear was bitten off.
The lawsuit continues by stating Neri’s injuries were a direct result of Stansbury’s failure to follow proper handling policies.
Neri is seeking compensation for pain, distress and monetary damages she sustained.