Dog attack at Belleville barbecue leads to suit

Kelly Holleran Oct. 15, 2012, 3:51am


A Granite City man has filed suit against the owners of the dog that he claims attacked him while at a barbecue.

Leslie Whittington Jr. claims he was visiting defendants Christopher D. and Nicole Odem at their home at 106 Optimus Dr. in Belleville on May 27 to attend a barbecue. The Odems owned a Chow and German Shepherd mix named Pepper that they allowed to roam freely throughout their grounds during the gathering, according to the complaint filed Sept. 25 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

"Plaintiff was peaceably conducting himself when he bent down to tie his shoe, in a place where he had a lawful right to be, as he was an invitee of defendants," the suit states.

Suddenly, Pepper attacked and bit Whittington's face, the complaint says.

Because of the attack, Whittington claims he suffered scarring, disfigurement, mental anguish, pain and suffering, incurred medical costs and lost wages.

Whittington blames the Odems for allowing the attack, saying they negligently failed to adequately monitor their dog, kept a dog that they should have known to be vicious, failed to cage or leash the dog and failed to notify guests of the dog's dangerous propensities.

In his two-count complaint, Whittington is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus other relief the court deems just.

Whittington will be represented by Andrea D. McNairy of Brown and Crouppen in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-508.

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