Crowder orders pit bull named 'Precious' to remain in custody

By Christina Stueve | Jul 9, 2012


Madison County Animal Control Facility

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder on Monday ordered a pit bull to remain in custody of the county Animal Control facility until further order.

Crowder presides over a personal injury suit filed by Mallorie Vest of Godfrey against the dog's owners, Gregory and Patricia Gelzinnis, also of Godfrey.

In the suit filed June 1 as a miscellaneous remedy case, Vest, 19, claims she sustained severe physical injuries, requiring surgery, when she was allegedly attacked by the dog known as "Precious" on May 23. Vest claims Precious has attacked at least three others since August 2009 and that the dog should be deemed vicious.

Vest also wants Precious to be euthanized or permanently confined from the public, to prevent further injury or death.

According to records in the case, the Madison County Animal Control facility was scheduled to release Precious on June 2. She was brought to the facility on May 25.

Crowder ordered the Gelzinnises to pay for the cost of Precious's incarceration.

A hearing that was set to take place on Monday afternoon was continued by Crowder due to a change in plaintiff's attorneys.

Steve Selby of Smith, Mendenhall, Selby & Cole in Alton is Vest's new attorney.

Christopher A. Wright and his law firm, Millikan Wright, withdrew as Vest's counsel on July 3.

He gave notice to the parties of his intent to seek reasonable "quantum meruit" attorney fees and the reimbursement of reasonable case expenses incurred in connection with his representation of Vest.

Steve Griffin of East Alton represents the Gelzinnises.

The Gelzinneses and Bluff City Tours were named in a 2009 lawsuit filed by plaintiff Pamela Moore, who claimed her arm was bitten by Precious.

Madison County Judge David Hylla on Aug. 31, 2010 signed a stipulation for dismissal, stating the parties agreed that the case be dismissed with each party bearing costs.

According to that lawsuit, Moore claimed she intended to visit Bluff City Tours Aug. 10, 2009. As she opened the front door of the Godfrey establishment, she claims she was attacked by Precious.

As a result, she was frightened and had physical pain and missed work, according to the complaint. In addition, Moore claimed she incurred medical costs, suffered permanent numbness, scarring, disfigurement and injury to her upper arm.

At the time of the attack, the Gelzinnises had no signs outside their business warning of the dog's presence, the complaint stated.

The Gelzinnises denied the allegations but did admit there was no sign warning of the dog's presence.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 12 MR 138.

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