Man Gets $1.8 Million in Dog Case

Associated Press

A jury has awarded $1.8 million to a man who was injured when a small dog darted in front of his bicycle.

Joe Smith, who thought the dog was attacking him, lost control of the bicycle and crashed, his lawyer said. Doctors testified that Smith, now 60, needed a total knee and joint replacement.

The dog was not harmed in the 1990 accident and has since died.

The jury agreed with Smith that the dog's owners, Pat and Charles Steele, violated Cameron County and homeowners' association leash laws in Port Isabel, a resort area across the bay from South Padre Island.

Jurors on Monday awarded Smith $1 million for pain and mental anguish, $660,000 for loss of physical ability, $73,000 for medical bills and $50,000 in punitive damages.

Smith's wife, Ann, was awarded $50,000 for loss of household help, companionship and sexual affection, according to court documents.

Pat Steele would not comment, referring questions to her lawyer, Bob Spann. He was not in his office Wednesday.

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