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Jury to Hear Girl’s Trauma in Mauling

Reprinted from The Washington Times

By Jim Keary, The Washington Times

Tiffany Pak loved playing in her back yard. But now she’s so traumatized from an attack from a neighbor’s dog a year ago the 5 year old rarely ventures outside.

“She was totally terrorized, and as a result she ran away and has hidden from her fears and has withdrawn,” said Beau Brincefield Tiffany’s attorney. “She won’t talk to her playmates. She won’t talk to strangers. She won’t talk to her father. She buries her face into her mother whenever someone approaches her.”

Tiffany was 4 at the time of the attack. She received about 300 stitches to wounds on her back and legs after a neighbor’s 15 month old Rottweiler jumped a fence and mauled her April 7, 1994, while she was in her back yard in the 3800 block of Prince William Drive in Fairfax County.

The scars on her legs are visible, but the hurt is deep inside, Mr. Brincefield said.

Tiffany’s story will be told to a Fairfax County jury today in a $400,000 lawsuit filed against the dog’s owner, Maria Cerqueira, who is accused of negligence in the child’s injuries. The lawsuit contends Tiffany will need special plastic surgery, therapy and special schools to overcome the trauma from the attack.

Michael Zimmerman, Mrs. Cerqueira’s attorney, said his client was not negligent because the dog was fenced in and she only knew of one time he had escaped. Mr. Zimmerman would not comment on whether the dog had been taunted by Tiffany or anyone in her yard before the attack.

Mr. Zimmerman said Mrs. Cerqueira’s dog bit Tiffany, but the damages claimed by her attorney are extreme.

“The dog had never exhibited any vicious tendencies.” Mr. Zimmerman said the dog, named Kaiser, was destroyed by the county’s Animal Control Department after the attack.

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