RENO, Nev. - The family of a 3-year-old girl bitten by her grandfather's wolf-hybrid dog is blaming Carson City Animal Services for the attack and seeking $770,000 in damages.
A lawyer for the family of Taylor Soetje says eight previous complaints had been lodged and two citations issued against the grandfather, Carson City realtor George Soetje, for keeping vicious and dangerous dogs.
They say animal services should have taken the 125-pound wolf-dog away long before it attacked the girl at Soetje's home in June 1998.
The little girl underwent surgery for head and facial injuries. She was in intensive care for a week. Her 6-year-old sister, Kiley, and father, Ed, also were injured in the attack.
''It is clear that Carson City Animal Services was negligent in their failure to destroy this dog after numerous times it was put on notice regarding the dog's temperament and the multiple problems that the neighbors and even Mr. Soetje's own wife, suffered because of the dogs,'' Reno lawyer David Kahn wrote in the a letter to the city.
Soetje's wife, Anne, was bitten in June 1997 when she tried to break up a fight between dogs.
Soetje pleaded no contest and was found guilty in September 1998 to one count of keeping a vicious animal in connection with the attack on his granddaughter.
District Attorney Noel Waters said the city is still reviewing how it will respond to the family's claim.
Animal Services Director Mike Conklin said he will fight the demand for money. He said the dog ultimately was put to sleep.
''The blame belongs at the doorstep of the owner,'' Conklin said. ''He alone failed to meet his responsibility as a dog owner.''