Macon man awarded $350,000 in pit bull attack

lfabian@macon.comAugust 1, 2013 

dog_bitten

Jack “Sonny” Henderson talks in this 2011 file photo about his encounter with two dogs that attacked him while he was out for a run. His wife, Bernadette, right, spent weeks dressing his wounds.

BEAU CABELL — bcabell@macon.com

Jack “Sonny” Henderson’s evening jog ended abruptly two years ago when a pair of pit bulls attacked him on Clinton Road.

Monday, Bibb County State Judge William P. Adams awarded the 65-year-old retired postal worker a $350,000 judgment based on his injuries, medical treatment and lingering effects.

Shortly after the attack, Henderson said he would have bled to death in the street if it weren’t for two women who stopped to help.

“The dogs severed his artery in his arm, and he was just bleeding heavily at the scene,” said Jeffrey Powers, Henderson’s attorney. “They were just mauling him.”

Tymeka Bryant and Christy Martino happened to be driving by when they saw the dogs getting the best of the spry gentleman.

Martino grabbed for the Louisville Slugger metal baseball bat she kept for protection and ran the dogs off before putting a tourniquet on Henderson’s arm.

When Macon police arrived, the dogs charged an officer, who fired a fatal shot into the head of Jaida, the female. The male, Chevy, was quarantined and returned to his owner, Allan Thomas, who paid a $100 fine.

Contacted Thursday about the award, Thomas said he did not know anything about the judge’s ruling.

Powers said Thomas had been served with the lawsuit, and Adams said his office sent notice of this week’s proceedings.

In 2011, Thomas explained that he had just moved to Clinton Road, where the dogs escaped from their pen. He said the attack was out of character.

Powers said Thomas was cited when the dogs were loose about a week before his client was hurt.

Henderson had at least $35,000 in medical bills, Powers said, but collecting the money will be difficult.

“We have some bad law in the state of Georgia,” he said.

Since Thomas did not own the house, he was not required to have insurance. The property owner in California was not liable, but offered a $5,000 settlement.

“This is why people need to buy insurance,” Powers said. “People need to protect their assets if you’re going to keep animals like these at your house.”

The attorney has not ruled out garnisheeing Thomas’ wages.

Henderson was attacked about a half-mile from Northeast High School.

“If a child had walked by that house, they would be killed instantly,” Powers said.

After nearly 25 months, Henderson still has pain in his arm and hand.

He no longer takes long jogs, but trots around near their Baconsfield home, said his wife, Bernadette, who had to change his bandages for two months.

Powers said pet owners must held accountable.

“If you have an animal like that, you have to protect the people walking and jogging by.”

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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