Dog Bite Jury Victory

Dog Bite Jury Victory

Lott Law Scores Dog Bite Jury Victory

Jury delivers massive verdict against owners of pit bull that twice attacked a 12-year-old

A jury on Tuesday awarded a Jackson County family $400,000 after a neighborhood pit bull attacked their young son so badly last year he nearly lost part of his leg.

The lawsuit, which was filed in February 2023, centered on then-12-year-old Chris McClarty and a pit bull named Trash Can who lived a few houses away.

Now, the court battle between neighbors of the quiet Gulf Park Estates community has ended in a blow to owner Raymond Lias and a win for the child’s family and neighbors who have said they feared the dog would attack again.

“We’re really happy,” said attorney Matthew Lott, whose firm represented McClarty. “The jury saw the atrocities the Liases committed on this child by keeping this vicious animal at home.”

The McClarty family filed suit after Trash Can attacked Chris McClarty twice last year. The attack left McClarty with bites and puncture wounds and sent him to the hospital to be bandaged and stitched. When Trash Can charged on McClarty again, the child spent five days in a Mobile hospital, needed nine surgeries and missed almost 90 days of school, his family said last year.

Lias, a part-time Moss Point police officer at the time of the attacks, has defended his dog fiercely. He denied the dog was vicious after the Jackson County Board of Supervisors declared him as such under its animal control ordinance. He fought to keep the dog and promised to obey orders the animal be confined at home and leashed and muzzled anytime else. And he contended the child ventured onto his property near his mailbox when Trash Can attacked, despite all other evidence that suggested McClarty was only walking down the street, Lott said.

The McClarty family asked for no less than $500,000 in damages for what their lawsuit said was negligence and reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Lias countered that Trash Can was a “family pet” who was not “aggressive or vicious.”

Mississippi law does not require the Liases to euthanize their dog, and they continue to keep it muzzled, Lott said. They lack the money to pay the McClarty family in full, he said, but the family is still happy even though “it’s more of an on-paper win.”

Lias’ attorney, NeShondria “Shon” Ellerby of Ellerby Law in Moss Point, did not immediately respond to a message left Wednesday morning. But in the trial before Judge Kathy Jackson in Jackson County Circuit Court, Lias said on the stand that he bred the dog to attack people, according to Lott.

“The dog,” Lott said, “was apparently doing its job.”

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If you have been injured by a dog bite, contact Lott Law today at 228-215-2787.