'Dog Whisperer' Cesar Millan Sued Over Alleged Pit Bull Attack
A woman claims Millan's center prematurely released the pit bull.
Dog Whisperer star Cesar Millan is being sued by a woman who claims a prematurely released pit bull viciously attacked her.
Alison Bitney, a critical care nurse in Florida, was attacked on Sept. 23, 2014, and said that she suffered "disfiguring open wounds [and] deep muscle and tendon lacerations" six days following the release of the dog, named Gus, from Millan's Dog Psychology Center.
The complaint states that the nurse permanently lost both function and feeling in her left hand following the attack, the L.A. Times reports. Bitney claims that Gus bit her while she was visiting friend John Vazzoler's home in Santa Clarita, Calif.
A judge ordered that Gus be destroyed on Feb. 26, 2013, after he viciously attacked dog trainer Amber Rickles three times, requiring reconstructive surgery and leaving her with scars, Courthouse News reports. But Jennifer L. Romano, who originally brought Gus to Rickles' training center in Texas, appealed the decision. The Dog Psychology Center stepped in and agreed to rehabilitate the dog until "fully deemed a safe member of society," the complaint states.
However, "when the dog's owner fell behind on monthly payments to keep it housed at the Dog Psychology Center, the center prematurely released the known vicious and dangerous pit bull back into the public domain and entrusted it to someone with no training or experience in the handling of vicious and dangerous dogs," the complaint states.
Dog Psychology Center Director Jen Woodard said in a statement that the dog was removed by the owner "against the strong advice and objection of his trainer." After the attack on Bitney, the pit bull was returned to the center and quarantined.
Woodard says the Dog Whisperer star neither trained nor ever had contact with the dog.
Millan and his DPC are accused of negligence for prematurely releasing a pit bull that has a history of attacks on humans and animals. The Dog Psychology Center, Millan, Vazzoler and Romano are defendants in the case.
Bitney is seeking punitive damages for the attack.