Effinger Garden Center in Belleville

The mother of a girl who was allegedly bitten by a labrador retriever at Effinger Garden Center in Belleville filed a 10-count suit in St. Clair County Circuit Court claiming the attack caused serious injuries to her daughter and a fear of dogs in herself.

Robyn Marlen claims her daughter, Claire, was viciously attacked by the dog on March 28, flung into the air several times, and repeatedly trampled by the dog.

"Effinger Garden Center knew or should have known the dog had a vicious and ill-tempered disposition," the complaint states.

Marlen, represented by Craig Jensen of the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, is seeking at least $200,000 in damages plus all costs of the suit.

In the suit filed July 8, Marlen claims Effinger violated the Animal Control Act by failing to keep the dog in an enclosed area or tethered, and failing to warn others about the presence of an unrestrained, vicious and dangerous dog.

According to Marlen, her daughter suffered permanent injuries to her arm and other parts of her body which caused great pain, disfigurement and mental anguish.

Marlen also claims that the attack caused her to have a reasonable fear for her own safety.

"As a result of witnessing the attack, Marlen suffered emotional distress and extreme mental anguish, including high anxiety, fear of dogs, sleeplessness, fatigue, nightmares, and other psychological effects, both known and potentially unknown," the complaint states.

05 L 407 (20th Circuit)

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