Lawsuit alleges eastern Pa. man harbored dangerous wolf-dog hybrid
The family of a Scranton toddler who was attacked by a dog this past May is suing the dog’s owner, accusing him of harboring an exotic wolf-dog hybrid he knew to be dangerous.
Katelyn Davis’ 2-year-old son, who is not identified by name in the lawsuit, was at the dog-park section of Hollenback Park in Wilkes-Barre on May 8, when a dog identified in court documents as a “mixed-breed huskie” attacked him and bit his arm through the dog-park fence.
“The 2-year-old boy has sustained several deep puncture wounds to his right arm and a break/fracture to his arm,” attorney Michael Pisanchyn wrote in a release announcing the lawsuit.
The dog’s owner is identified in the lawsuit as David B. Cannon Jr., 54, of Plains. On Aug. 30, Cannon pleaded guilty in a Wilkes-Barre district court to one count of permitting an animal to injure a human being arising from the attack.
In 2015, Cannon pleaded guilty to a charge of allowing an animal to run at large.
“Additionally, in 2012, Mr. Cannon’s animal(s) caused 17 bite wounds to another person, and ultimately fatally mauled that person’s year-old chihuahua in the same small dog area of Hallenback Dog Park in Wilkes-Barre where the May 2018 incident happened,” Pisanchyn wrote.
Samples of the dog’s blood have been sent for testing to determine if it is truly a wolf hybrid, which would classify it as “exotic wildlife” under Pennsylvania law. A state permit is required to own that type of animal, and the lawsuit alleges Cannon did not have such a permit.
Attacks by hybrid wolves have occurred in Westmoreland County. In May 2012, a Salem Township woman, 50-year-old Sandra Piovesan, was mauled by the hybrid wolves she bred at her home and bled to death inside their pen.
Pisanchyn said he hopes the lawsuit will bring attention to what he considers a dangerous animal.
“The Pisanchyn Law Firm knows that it is perceived as ‘being cool’ to own an animal that has wolf genes,” he wrote. “However, these genes are the same ones that make the animal unpredictable, dangerous and prone to severely injure a human being.”
The lawsuit accuses Cannon of two counts of negligence, and one count of premises liability. It asks the court to award the boy’s family $50,000 as well as punitive damages.
The attorney who represented Cannon following the May 8 attack declined comment, and said he is not representing Cannon in the civil suit.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.