Woman bit by dog gets settlement

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/01/10/woman-bit-by-dog-wins-settlement

The Ottawa woman who was attacked by a Shih Tzu in the infamous Home Depot biting incident has sued the dog owner and received a settlement.

“It’s been bittersweet, although, you know, the money has really helped out,” said Anne Riel.

“I’ve paid a whole bunch of bills and I took my little girl to Walt Disney World, which I never, ever would’ve done before.”

The agreement was reached three months ago but Riel isn’t revealing exactly how much money she’s received but said it’s the “normal” amount.

“I guess the regular range of a dog bite settlement in that type of thing is about $35,000,” said Riel.

Last April, Riel was working as a greeter in the east end Home Depot and part of her nostril was chewed off after Spot, a 12-year-old Shih Tzu, jumped and sunk its teeth into her face.

Riel no longer works at Home Depot.

The chain has banned pets from its Canadian stores.

Dog owner Odette Fournier — who blames Riel for trying to pet a dog she doesn’t know — has forked over a $610 penalty to the city.

When asked to comment on the settlement Tuesday, Fournier said, “I’m not aware of it.”

Her home insurance company forked over the money to Riel.

“I was told to ‘leave it in our hands and we’ll take care of it,’” said Fournier.

Her dog, Spot, “is more than happy” now that his muzzle-order has been lifted.

Riel, on the other hand, says she’s still dealing with the emotional drain following the attack, calling it “really, really rough.”

“Am I still frightful of dogs? You bet,” she said.

Riel said she can’t believe businesses, such as the Beer Store on Montreal Rd. and her doctor’s office, are still letting dogs inside.

“I have no issues with working dogs …I am all for them. They’re brilliant dogs,” she said.

The lawsuit was about principle over money, said Riel, and she probably wouldn’t have sued had Fournier been apologetic about the attack.

“Less complications in life are better,” said Riel.

“The hoopla of all of this — too much for me to handle. I’m just starting to get some peace and quiet now.”

And her nose looks much better.

“God bless those plastic surgeons,” she said.

“They did just a great, great job.”

Two days before Riel was attacked, a pitbull killed a Shih Tzu.

That dog, Tyrus, was put down.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

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