Personal Injury Info

Woman Killed by Dog Bite Attack in Hertford

If you are looking for a pet, be leery of the animals made available on Craigslist. A woman was mauled to death by a pit bull she found on Craigslist, according to This is a tragic incident. The victim was only 36 years old and had her whole life ahead of her.

The victim, Suzanne Story (name published by Channel 3 News) was the owner of the dog for less than two weeks before the awful attack.

It animal control and two officers to get control of the rapid animal. Once EMS assessed the severity of Ms. Story’s injuries and realized she was in critical condition. Medical specialists from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital were flown in by helicopter, but, sadly, just as they landed, Ms. Story died.

My deepest condolences go out to the Story family. Losing someone you love is never easy, but the pain and agony is made much worse when the loss is sudden and completely unexpected.

An investigation by the Tri-County Animal Control discovered that Ms. Story obtained the animal on Craigslist. The original owners reportedly brought the pit bull to Hertford from Virginia and gave it to Ms. Story at no cost.

“They brought [the pit bull] down from Virginia and gave it to them and said it was a good natured dog and good around children and then this happened,” said Debbie Brown, the victim’s mother, according to the news report. She believes the sellers need to take responsibility for the deadly attack.

Potential Dog Attack Wrongful Death Liability

Ms. Story’s mother is correct – the original owners should take responsibility for this awful, tragic incident. The owner of an animal must take notice of the animal’s “general, natural inclinations or characteristics and of the inclinations or characteristics, if any, peculiar to the animal in this case that he knows about or should have known about. If any of those inclinations or characteristics are of a kind likely to cause injury, the owner has a duty to use ordinary care to prevent any reasonably foreseeable injury. If an owner fails to perform this duty, then [they are] negligent.” See Virginia Model jury Instruction 29.010. This standard applies to someone who sells or donates a dangerous dog online. There is a duty to inform the new owner of any dangerous propensities of the animal, if known.

The original owners may try to claim that they had no knowledge of the pit bull’s vicious nature. However, the fact that Ms. Story was attacked and killed less than two weeks after assuming care of the animal is evidence that contradicts such a defense.

The original owners may also be liable under a fraudulent conveyance theory. If it is true that the original owners described the animal as “good natured” and “good around children” but had knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities, they could be civilly liable for a fraudulent conveyance.

Finding insurance Coverage

One of my main tasks as a Norfolk dog bite injury lawyer is to track down all available forms of insurance coverage. This is incredibly important since an accessible insurance policy can help compensate a victim, or the loved one’s of a decedent who was wrongfully killed. Finding coverage can be somewhat difficult with dog bite and animal attack cases because people generally have insurance coverage for pet attacks. Nevertheless, in this tragic situation, there may be available coverage through a homeowner’s insurance policy.

Talk to a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one was attacked by an animal, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer sooner rather than later. As mentioned, an attorney can help determine what forms of insurance coverage are applicable and pursue that coverage on your behalf.

If you have questions, contact me, Emily Brannon, at 757-447-4192.

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