Volunteer Sues LA Alleging Animal Shelter Failed to Protect Her After Dog Attack

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By KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A woman is suing the city of Los Angeles, alleging she was bitten in the arm by a German shepherd while working as a volunteer at an animal shelter, then had to drag herself more than 200 feet with the animal's mouth attached to her limb to get help.  Kelly Kaneko's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges negligence, negligent hiring, training and supervision, premises liability and dangerous condition of public property. She seeks unspecified damages in the suit filed Thursday.  Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for the City Attorney's Office, said lawyers will review the complaint, but that he had no further comment.  According to her lawsuit, Kaneko was serving as a city shelter volunteer -- which location was not named -- last Oct. 31 when she was told to leash 100-pound German shepherd named Jax and escort him 250 feet, while alone, from his kennel to an area where a family could meet the dog and decide whether to adopt him.  Kaneko was told by the staff that Jax had been "grumpy," but no warnings about any potential risks were identified on the identification card attached to the dog's kennel, the suit states.  After the meeting with the prospective adoptive family, Kaneko says she was told to take the canine back to his kennel, once again while alone. While placing him back in his kennel and removing the leash, the dog suddenly attacked Kaneko, biting and latching onto one of her forearms, the suit states.  Kaneko tried without success to free herself, but the dog intensified his bite, which penetrated her bone and arteries, according to the suit, which says no one at the shelter came to her aid despite her screams and calls for help.  After five to seven minutes, Kaneko, fearing she would lose her entire arm, dragged herself the 250 feet from Jax's kennel to the main office while he continued to bite into her limb, the suit states.  One employee was at the main office, but the person was wearing earplugs because of the animal noise in the shelter and was unable to hear Kaneko's screams, the suit says. Eventually, another employee saw what was happening and helped Kaneko remove the dog's jaws from her arm, according to her court papers, which say she underwent surgeries and spent weeks in intensive care.  Kaneko alleges none of the shelter employees were given any training or instruction of what to do in the event of such an attack. Shelter management also failed to take safer steps to reduce noise in the facility so that the employee wearing earplugs would not have had to put them on, according to the suit.  Kaneko also maintains that had she gotten emergency aid sooner, her injuries would have been limited to a "relatively minor flesh wound."