A 2 1/2-year-old boy and his mother recently won a $856,000 jury award in a case involving a dog attack on a Hawaiian beach. The verdict is thought to be the highest in the state’s history for a dog bite case.
Keeton Manguso weighed only 24 pounds when a Rottweiler owned by Mariko Bereday attacked him on the beach. He suffered multiple bites to the hip, back and arms and received stitches for his injuries.
Jim Bickerton, attorney for Manguso and his mother, Veronica Tomooka, said a former University of Hawaii football player had to punch the dog in the head to get it to stop attacking the boy.
The dog’s owner denied claims that her dog attacked the boy, despite photos of his injuries, and said she would appeal the verdict.
However, Hawaiian Humane Society records from 2003 showed that Bereday had received five warnings and one citation for not keeping her dog on a leash.
“It really highlights that the rules that say when a dog is out it public it should be leashed are there for a very good reason. Too many people want to enjoy the pleasure of running with their dogs at the beach and don’t stop to think about the risk that poses, especially to young children,” said Bickerton.
Bereday was sentenced to five days in jail when her dog attacked another child, a 4-year-old girl, five days after it attacked Manguso. She was also cited with a $2000 fine and the dog was ordered to be put down. That case is being appealed.