Dog owners being sued by a Granite City man are fighting back in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

According to a lawsuit filed on Sept. 25, plaintiff Leslie Whittington Jr. visited a barbecue hosted by defendants Christopher D. and Nicole Odem at their Bellville home on May 27.

Pepper, the Odems’ Chow and German Shepherd mix, allegedly attacked and bit Whittington’s face, the suit says.

The defendants say Whittington Jr. had a responsibility to act with care for his safety, and his own negligence caused whatever injuries or damages are alleged. In the alternative, if the plaintiff’s contributory negligence was not over 50 percent of any and all negligence in the case, the amount of his negligence should serve to reduce his damages, according to the couple's Nov. 7 answer to the complaint.

The Odems also have filed a counterclaim, stating that they have paid $3,000 in medical expenses and if they are found liable, that the court enter an order granting a set-off against any judgment in the amount of $3,000.

Whittington Jr. seeks a judgment of more than $50,000.

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

Russell Scott and Dayna Johnson of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale represent the defense.

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

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