Thursday, August 19, 2004
Ex-pizza deliverer serves up lawsuit over injuries by dog
Now a deployed Army Reservist, Matt Bare says his injuries limit his ability to serve.
A pit bull with a taste for pizza - or at least a taste for pizza deliverymen - has a Salem woman facing a $100,000 lawsuit.
Matt Bare is suing Pamela Bell for $100,000 because he said he was attacked by her pit bull when he tried to deliver a Papa John's pizza to her home.
On Aug. 30, 2002, Bare knocked on Bell's door in the 3600 block of Ellen Drive. Her dog lunged out of the house at him, according to Bare's attorney, Peter Katt.
Bare, 41, shooed the dog off with the pizza box, but the dog charged again, knocking him off Bell's porch, Katt said. Bare broke his wrist in the fall and the dog continued to attack.
"He was basically on his back kicking at it," Katt said. Eventually a man at the house got the dog off him.
The dog, Steve, has since been put to sleep after an unrelated incident, Bell said.
Bare is suing for compensation for personal injury, medical bills, inconvenience and a loss of earnings.
Bare, who is from Roanoke, is serving in an Army Reserve unit at Fort Eustis in Newport News.
Katt said that his client wants to be deployed to Afghanistan, but currently cannot go because he has decreased mobility in his wrist.
Bell, who was unaware of the lawsuit until a Roanoke Times reporter asked her about it, said she thought her insurance provider had taken care of the incident. Katt said the company had not, but that he hoped they could settle the matter without going to court.
Some Roanoke Valley veterinarians said pit bulls have a bad reputation they don't deserve.
"Most pit bulls are very nice, sweet dogs," said Mark Wadstrom of Salem's Animal Care Center, adding that people unfairly think of them as teeth-baring bullies. "When a Dalmatian bites someone, it's a dog bite. When a pit bull bites someone it's a pit bull bite."
Bell said her pet was never trained to be aggressive.
"He wasn't mean," she said. "He was just excitable."