Sheriff of Richland County ordered to pay $35K after woman says K-9 attacked her at Cayce home

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 1:47 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A jury ordered Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott to pay a Monck’s Corner woman $35,000 after she said a police dog attacked her at her son’s home.

Juanita Robbins said she was visiting her son’s home on Lexington Avenue in Cayce in 2013 where her son’s roommate, former Richland County Sheriff deputy Josh Pardi, owned a K-9 dog.

According to a statement from Lott, deputies were at the home to help her son, who was also a sheriff’s deputy move out of his house.

“From the very beginning, we apologized and accepted responsibility,” Lott said. “We even offered to pay her medical bills but she wanted more. Because of that, this whole matter has been drawn out over 10 years. We’re sorry it had to come to that.”

The K-9 dog was at the home in Cayce at the time when “without any provocation, viciously bit, ripped and mauled Robbins, causing her severe physical and psychological injuries,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit claims Pardi, who left the sheriff’s department in 2016, directed the K-9 dog to put his paws on her son, who was standing eye level with Robbins. In an instant, the dog lunged at Robbins’ face and bit her. After Robbins’ son intervened, the dog then bit her right thigh, the lawsuit claimed.

Lawyers for Robbins argued that Sheriff Leon Lott was responsible to supervise the K-9 dog at all times because it is “an animal that is trained to attack.”

The dog attack caused Robbins significant emotional and physical injuries, the lawsuit outlines, including PTSD. Robbins is still dealing with the effects from the attack and is on permanent disability, according to the suit.

The lawsuit was filed against Sheriff Leon Lott in 2017. Since then, court records show there were several motions for continuances filed by both parties.

The jury decided in favor of Robbins on Tuesday. While the sheriff was sued in the lawsuit, the county will be paying the $35,000 fine and the money does not come out of Lott’s pocket, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

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