Disfigured woman sues neighbour over dog attack
Published Wednesday, December 14, 2011 4:11PM EST
A Quebec woman squared off against her neighbour in court Wednesday after she had part of her face torn off in a dog attack.
Marie-Helene Tokar, who suffered facial disfigurement in a 2008 attack and is undergoing major reconstruction, is suing her neighbour and friend Marie-Claude Poliquin for $1.4 million.
Wednesday was day three of the ten-day civil trial, which saw Tokar, 48, remove the scarf she normally wears to cover her face and reveal her disfigurement. Tokar lost her nose, upper lip and part of her chin in the incident and has undergone several operations since.
The incident occurred in September 2008 in St. Hippolyte, north of Montreal.
Poliquin's pit bull terrier gave birth to puppies and Tokar cared for the runt.
She was attacked when she returned the puppy to the dog in her neighbour's home. The dog was put down following the incident.
Tokar is suing in part to cover her mounting medical costs, many of which are not covered by Medicare.
"She needs to pay, because I suffered. It's been three years now and I'm not finished the operations. So they have to do something because I have no more money. I have nothing anymore," said Tokar.
Poliquin is on social assistance. On the line for money is the dog owner's insurance company, Wawanesa.
In the courtroom Wednesday, lawyers for the plaintiff attacked Wawanesa, arguing that Poliquin had been previously turned down for insurance from another company for owning too many dogs.
The plaintiff also spoke to issues for the judge to ponder; including that Poliquin's illiteracy could have a bearing on any contract she signed. Also, because pit bulls were banned in St. Hippolyte at the time of the attack, would the company be responsible if it was unaware of the pit bull living in the home.
The trial continues Thursday.