A 57-year-old Monroe man’s death earlier this year is being blamed on a bacterial infection caused by a dog bite, according to a lawsuit filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.
Kenneth Bock died Feb. 19, 10 days after a dog bit him at the Chain Lake Road storage business in Monroe he helped manage, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed Aug. 24 against Konrad Haskins and his wife Phyllis Haskins of Monroe, the owners of the dog. A response to the lawsuit was filed Sept. 15.
“First of all, (Konrad Haskins) is very saddened and regrets what happened,” said Gary Trabolsi, a Seattle attorney who is representing the Haskinses. “This was very, very upsetting to him.”
Although neither he nor Haskins deny the dog bit Bock, “how it happened and why it happened is very much in dispute,” he said.
Bock initially was treated at hospitals in Monroe and Everett before being transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said Chris Davis, a Seattle attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Bock’s family. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Blood tests indicated that the fatal bacterial infection was caused by a dog bite, Davis said.
An estimated 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year, he said, and 15 to 20 people die from dog bites. One of the areas of law the firm specializes in is dog bites.
Many details of what happened on the day of the dog bite are in dispute.
The lawsuit alleges that on the same day Bock was bitten, the dog, named Buddy, had also bitten another customer, a man.
Davis said the man went to the office of the storage business to report the dog bite. Haskins paid him $100 for the injury, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that that the dog was allowed to roam free on the property, which Trabolsi says is not true.
“The notion that he had left Buddy unattended to roam around is not the case at all,” he said.
Bock went to investigate and ensure the dog owner was leaving the property, Davis said, and spotted both the dog and his owner in his Chevy Suburban.
Bock was bitten on the finger, according to the lawsuit.
Trabolsi alleged Bock stuck his hand through the driver’s window.
Davis called that recounting “absolutely false.”
“There’s no way Mr. Bock … would try to pet an animal he knew had bitten another customer,” he said.
Bock went to the hospital the following day for problems that initially were diagnosed as a blood clot in his leg, Davis said.
The bacterium later detected in Bock’s blood, capnocytophaga canimorsus sepsis, is commonly found in the saliva of cats and dogs, Davis said.
The two sides have agreed to begin mediation in the case in early December, Trabolsi said.
“I don’t know what other words to say,” Trabosi said. “It’s first of all tragic and secondly very unusual.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.