A college student is suing a couple who hired her to walk their dogs after the animals pounced on her and tore her ears and much of her face off.
Jacqueline Durand, 22, was walking her neighbors’ dogs last month when the animals attacked her, leaving her “permanently and catastrophically” disfigured, according to her family.
“We just hope that she can return to whatever her normalcy will be one day,” her father, John Durand, told WFAA.
Mr Durand ran a dog-sitting business while she was taking classes at the University of Texas Dallas.
On 23 December, Ms Durand was hired by a couple in Coppell, Texas, to take care of their three dogs. Ms Durand went to the house and opened the door, when she was “immediately” tackled by the animals.
“Dragged throughout the home. Clothes ripped off. Eight hundred to 1,000 bites around her body,” her father said. “Her ears, nose, upper lip and face – from cheek bone to cheek bone – were pulled off of her face. She will never look the same.”
Police eventually arrived at the home where they found Ms Durand moaning and covered in injuries, particularly to her face. Paramedics on scene managed to remove her, but they and police reportedly struggled to restrain the dogs.
The family’s lawsuit is seeking payment for medical expenses and for loss of earnings in the past and future in the total of $1m, as Ms Durand remains hospitalised more than a month after the attack.
The lawsuit is also claiming negligence on the part of the family that owned the dogs, claiming they were aware of the dogs’ potential for violence and noting that they normally were kept in kennels in the house, but were loose the day Ms Durand arrived.
“The dogs were so violent and bloodthirsty that they pulled all of Jacqueline’s clothes off, including her blue jeans,” the lawsuit claims.
Attorneys noted in a court filing that the family had a sign outside their front door that read “Crazy Dogs. Please Don’t Knock or Ring the Bell. Call or Text Instead.”
Ultimately the dogs were captured and held by the City of Coppell. A municipal judge ruled that both of the animals involved in the attack should be euthanised, but the family’s attorneys are appealing the ruling to allow time for them to inspect the animals.
Ms Durand’s family said on top of the physical damage she suffered, the woman will also likely have trauma resulting from the incident, claiming it will be especially difficult for her as she loves animals.
“With such a kind heart, a warm, loving compassion for dogs and animals, that even continues to this day,” her father said.
Her sister, Barreca, said that she “walked into that house with nothing but love for those dogs.”
The family’s lawyer, Chip Booker, said that they would continue to investigate the incident.
“We believe that not just the family that owned the dogs, but there may be other parties that are potentially liable here,” Mr Booker said.