Driver suing veteran for damages after hitting, killing his dog
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A woman who hit and killed a man's dog is now claiming he owes her nearly $1,000.
The dog was a 4-year-old, 100 pound German Shepherd named Corporal Dakota Rambo Higgins. Its owner is 30-year Marine veteran and retired Colonel Ken Herrington.
"These were his dog tags, literally," Herring said holding the dog's collar. "After two years, he did make Corporal and it's properly displayed on his harness."
Their bond was so close, Herrington called Dakota a therapy dog.
""He was just a good friend, a son I never had," he said.
The accident happened Oct. 29, 2015. The driver, Maggie Cassaro, is the only witness to the actual accident.
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"It jolts the car. There's a noise. The car jolts," Cassaro said, replaying the accident. "I pulled over. It was a dog. I petted its head."
Herrington said he was training Dakota in his front yard when the dog ran after a deer.
"You can't stop a hunting dog going 30 miles an hour who's after his prey," Herrington said.
Nine weeks after the accident, Cassaro sent a letter to Herrington asking for $901.60 to repair her car.
"It's very easy to frame me as the bad person here because I am asking for damages," Cassaro said.
"I was absolutely astonished," Herrington said. "I was stunned that a lady who killed my dog that she may not have even known she had killed would ask me for damages for her vehicle."
Louisville's animal ordinance says, "Any person owning, controlling, or having care or custody of any animal shall be liable for any personal injury caused by such animal, and for any damage caused by such animal to public or private property."
"He is at fault. He broke three laws that day," Cassaro said. "If we don't uphold the laws then we're going to lose respect in the community."
Herrington points to the leash law as his defense.
"Puppies and dog don't have to be restrained in their own property yard. That's a fact," Herrington said.
Cassaro said it still should have never happened.
"He's putting that dog in danger every day and I'm just sorry that that happened," she said.
Herrington still has trouble walking over to where he buried Dakota in his yard and said he's ready for the case to be over and begin to heal.
"You don't forget memories of a companion and your best friend," Herrington said.
The case is scheduled to be heard Thursday at 1 p.m. Herrington has filed a counterclaim against Cassaro.
Cassaro is the artist who laid rose petals at the entrance to Cave Hill Cemetery for Muhammad Ali's burial.
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