A woman whose leg was snapped into four pieces by a large dog that ran into her at a dog park has been awarded nearly $2.6 million by a state jury in Stamford.
Sara “Sally” Muehring, 56, of Darien, went to a nearby dog park with her dog, a golden doodle (a poodle-golden retriever mix), on Sept. 2, 2009, according to her lawyer, Stewart Casper, of Casper & de Toledo in Stamford.
At the park, said Casper, a number of dogs were running around and chasing after each other off-leash when an Anatolian shepherd named Thalya and owned by Diana O’Farrell of Rowayton, ran full speed into Muehring. Casper said that breed of dog originated in Turkey, where it is used to herd sheep and other animals. Full-grown Anatolian shepherds can range in weight from 80 to 150 pounds.
Muehring broke both her right tibia and fibula. She was taken to Norwalk Hospital where she needed immediate surgery, with doctors using plates and screws to repair the fractures.
Muehring sued O’Farrell, the dog owner, technically under the state’s dog bite statute even though there was no bite involved. The strict liability statute deals with any injury that is caused by a dog provided that the injured party wasn’t teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog and wasn’t trespassing on somone else’s property.
The case went to trial beginning in June in Stamford Superior Court before Judge Charles Lee. Casper was assisted in the case by Carolyn Naylor of the same firm. O’Farrell was defended by Joseph Musco of the Law Office of Brian Farrell in New Haven, which handles cases for the insurer Chubb.
Testimony lasted about 10 days. The jury deliberated for 8.5 hours before awarding Muehring $2,590,812 on July 9. Of that amount, $1.3 million was for noneconomic damages.