New Canaan Woman Bit by Dogs Sues Neighbor

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Saying she’s suffered permanent scars and anxiety as a result of the attack, a New Canaan woman has sued a neighbor after two dogs bit her on a Sunday morning about two months ago.

According to a complaint filed Wednesday on behalf of Benedict Hill Road resident Allyn Holmberg, the two dogs—Sarge and Bane—“suddenly and without warning” on Sept. 15 “while roaming and unleashed.”

The dogs, in the care of next-door neighbor Paul Saitta “attacked without provocation and began to ferociously attack, bite, maul, savage and mutilate the plaintiff, causing severe and permanent injuries,” according to the lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court by attorney Jason Gladstone of New Canaan-based Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLC.

As a direct result of the attack, Holmberg sustained lacerations, abrasions, permanent scarring, severe pain, numbness and sensitivity on her back, buttocks and legs, according to the suit, as well as loss of sleep, headaches, muscle spasms and a “general feeling of malaise.”

Due to those injuries, she also has incurred medical bills, pain and suffering, “mental anguish, mental anxiety and emotional distress” and “has suffered permanent impairment of her ability to carry on life’s activities which she had enjoyed before the attack,” the lawsuit said.

The attack also led to a “[p]ermanent and disfiguring scar on her back which will cause great humiliation and embarrassment in the future,” according to the complaint. 

“As a direct result of the attack, the Plaintiff was unable and continues to be unable to enjoy life’s offering and life’s enjoyment,” it said.

According to a police report, authorities assessed more than $300 in fines against Saitta as a result of the attack, which occurred as the victim walked down her driveway to pick up newspapers. Screaming, Holmberg ultimately ran toward Saitta’s door, which he opened to assist her, according to the New Canaan Police incident report. He then drove her home and she went to Tully Center in Stamford to be treated.

Saitta had his own dog, Sarge, a husky mix, put down after the attack, the incident report said. Bane, a pit bull that Saitta had been watching for a friend who lives on Jelliff Mill Road, went to a Wilton boarding facility and was reported in the immediate aftermath of a state-mandated quarantine to be in good health. 

The lawsuit names Saitta, as well as Luz Berg and Herbert Kunstadt as defendants. Berg is identified as Bane’s owner in the lawsuit, and Kunstadt as Saitta’s landlord who “permitted and acquiesced his tenant Saitta to keep or harbor two different dogs named ‘Sarge’ and ‘Bane’ respectively at the aforesaid premises,” the complaint said.

Saitta and Berg are accused of violations under a state law that holds a dog’s owner or keeper liable in the event of the animal’s attack on a person or property, and all three defendants are accused for negligence.

Saitta “knew or should have known of Sarge’s and Bane’s ferocity and/or mischievous tendencies” and “should have warned the plaintiff of Sarge’s and Bane’s aggressive propensity,” the lawsuit said.

It seeks money damages, prejudgment interest under state law, costs and “such other and further relief as to equity may pertain,” according to the complaint. 

A status conference has been scheduled for Dec. 2, Connecticut Judicial Branch records show.

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