Victim of vicious Detroit dog mauling sues for damages
The victim of a brutal mauling in Detroit this month is seeking at least $25,000 in damages from the owners of the dogs, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court.
“The defendant in this case, acted in a way that terrorized this block … and put not just our client at great risk but to others — children, for example — who walked by this home almost everyday,” said attorney Mark Bernstein of the Farmington Hills-based Sam Bernstein Law Firm, which filed the suit. “That’s why this case in our opinion is enormously important.”
Steven Constantine, 50, of Detroit was walking in the 4500 block of Pennsylvania on Oct. 2 when about 12 dogs, pit bulls and mixes, attacked “and began eating him alive and only stopped when law enforcement utilized handguns,” according to the lawsuit. He was found nearly naked with severe wounds to his hands and feet.
The owners of the dogs are listed as Derrick Felton and Elizabeth Collins Felton in the lawsuit.
The attack was so vicious, according to a Detroit police investigation, that arriving medics “were unable to exit their rig because the dogs were too aggressive” and police were forced to shoot at two of the dogs, killing one. The remaining dogs ran back to their home nearby and later euthanized, police said.
Derrick Felton was arrested the day of the attack on an unrelated warrant. No charges have been filed in the attack.
The suit claims the Feltons were negligent and failed to take proper precautions with the dogs.
In statements to police, Felton and Constantine acknowledged the dogs barked and growled “a lot.” Constantine also said the dogs were known to “go after people.”
Constantine remains at Detroit Receiving Hospital. Since the attack, part of his left arm and left leg have been amputated, according to the suit. His right foot was reattached, and doctors said his right arm is unlikely to function, Bernstein said.
“Right now he’s in a circumstance where he can’t ring for the nurse,” he said.
Bernstein said his firm has handled other animal attack cases but the facts of this one were especially egregious.
“Enough is enough,” he said Monday night. “This is not about pit bulls, it’s about people … It’s about irresponsible, reckless people who need to be held accountable.”