James Halpin Sep 6, 2018 Updated Apr 17, 2020
WILKES-BARRE — The family of a 2-year-old boy severely injured when a dog bit him at Hollenback Park earlier this year filed suit against the dog owner Thursday, accusing him of negligence in the attack that occurred while the dog was in a fenced dog area.
The complaint alleges the dog that severely injured Hayden Davis on May 8 was a “mixed-breed huskie” that may have been a wolf hybrid.
“The Pisanchyn Law Firm knows that it is perceived as ‘being cool’ to own an animal that has wolf genes; however, these genes are the same ones that make the animal unpredictable, dangerous and prone to severely injure a human being,” attorney Michael J. Pisanchyn Jr. said in a statement announcing the suit.
According to an account Hayden’s mother Katelyn Davis, of Hanover Twp., provided The Citizens’ Voice after the attack, the child was at the park with his family and went over to the fenced dog park to look at the animals.
Two husky-type dogs approached, and one of them bit him through the fence, she said. The dog latched on and refused to release the boy until passers-by approached, she said.
One witness told The Citizens’ Voice that the dog “wouldn’t let go. Like, he was literally just tugging the kid to the fence.”
The lawsuit filed Thursday identifies the dog owner as David Brian Cannon Jr., 54, of Plains Twp. Court records show that Cannon was cited in June with allowing an animal to attack a person, and that he subsequently pleaded guilty and was fined $197.
The civil complaint alleges Cannon was harboring a “dangerous dog” that aggressively attacked Hayden, breaking his arm and causing cuts and puncture wounds that required reconstructive surgery.
Davis is seeking unspecified damages based on the medical expenses incurred as well as for pain and suffering and the psychological damage the attack caused her son. The suit is also seeking punitive damages, alleging Cannon knew his dogs were vicious.
In November 2012, Cannon was cited for permitting an animal to injure a human after three of his mixed-breed huskies fatally mauled a chihuahua at Hollenback Park and bit the dog’s owner when she tried to stop the attack.
In that case, Cannon was found not guilty at a summary trial — although he did apologize for the attack and offered to buy the woman a new dog.
“Despite knowledge of the animal/dog’s violent propensities and history of attacks, (Cannon) failed to put in place reasonable safeguards to protect the plaintiff and persons like them,” the complaint says. “As a result of (Cannon’s) outrageous and reckless conduct, (Hayden) was attacked by (Cannon’s) animal/dog and suffered injuries and damages.”