Attorney: SPCA will pay amputation victim in dog bite case – The Winchester Star

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Evening clouds will give way to clearing overnight. Low around 25F. Winds light and variable..
Evening clouds will give way to clearing overnight. Low around 25F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: November 17, 2022 @ 10:50 pm

WINCHESTER — A woman who had two fingers amputated after being bitten by a pit bull at the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick & Clarke Counties has reached an undisclosed settlement, according to her attorney.
Lisa Bachtell sued the nonprofit organization in Winchester Circuit Court for $1 million last month over the attack that occurred on Feb. 22, 2020. Bachtell and her teenage daughter had gone to the SPCA adoption center and animal shelter on Featherbed Lane hoping to adopt a dog. The lawsuit states the pitbull, which was on a long leash, was being shown to another potential adopter as Bachtell sat nearby. It got loose from its handler and Bachtell was bitten on her ring and pinky fingers of her right hand when she raised it to protect herself. Besides the amputations, Bachtell suffered “severe and permanent injury” to the muscles, structures and tissues of the hand, which is her dominant hand.
Negotiations began in late November or December and a settlement was reached late last month, according to the woman’s attorney Robert B. Guntharp of Winchester. He wouldn’t say how much money she received but said the amount was “very satisfactory.” As part of the settlement, the SPCA doesn’t admit fault. Guntharp said that’s standard in personal injury lawsuit settlements.
The SPCA has contracted with the city of Winchester to provide care and housing for abused, stray and owner-surrendered animals since 1986, according to its website. In 2020, it admitted 859 cats and 419 dogs with 719 cats and 236 dogs adopted.
Jennifer L. Gaylor, SPCA board of directors president, didn’t return emails on Thursday regarding how many people have been bitten since the new adoption center opened in 2015, whether the dog who bit Bachtell was euthanized, and whether safety protocols have changed since Bachtell was attacked. Executive Director Lavenda L. Denny didn’t return a call.
Guntharp said Bachtell was “shocked and traumatized” by the attack and had two surgeries on the hand. Besides pain and emotional trauma, Guntharp said the 45-year-old was unable to continue her clerical job, which required a lot of typing.
“A loss of fingers is a permanent injury. You’re not going to grow back new fingers,” he said. “That is always an important factor in these cases. The permanency.”
Guntharp, an attorney since 1985, has specialized in personal injury and worker compensation cases. He said the settlement is an example of the system working.
Guntharp said personal injury lawsuits are often perceived by the public as frivolous and personal injury lawyers are seen as greedy. He said that’s unfair.
Cases are often lengthy and expensive with experts needed to be hired by attorneys and paid upfront to testify if the case goes to trial. Guntharp said most clients are like Bachtell and can’t afford to pay on an hourly basis for services. So most lawyers are paid contingency fees, a percentage of a settlement or a jury award if the case is won at trial. Therefore, Guntharp said most attorneys are unlikely to take frivolous cases because of the financial risk if they lose at trial or a settlement is small.
“The insurance industry and certain large corporate employers for years have been feeding misinformation out there to control the narrative and affect outcomes in cases and create the impression that the system has gone wild and lawyers file all these crazy lawsuits,” Guntharp said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, it’s the other way around. It’s much more difficult to get some semblance of justice for people whose lives have been turned on their heads.”
— Contact Evan Goodenow at
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Yep,,ANOTHER Pitbull attack. How many more before we are allowed to say…DANGEROUS DOG BREED

Much more should be said about the increased dangers posed by dogs of this group of breeds: Pit Bulls. THey comprise only 8% of the dog population but are involved in 72% of fatalities from dog bites. They were bred for winning fights and are MUCH more dangerous and likely to cause severe harm or death than all the other breeds. SPCA should consider NOT offering these dogs for adoption. The breed should be retired from the dog population as simply too risky as pets. Laws should be adopted to ban their breeding, to spay and neuter all existing Pit Bulls until they no longer threaten our peace. Hundreds of safer breeds are available as pets. Always choose a safer breed.

Well look at that. An aggrieved anti theist agrees with me, satan
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