WILKES-BARRE — A pit bull’s unprompted attack caused an elderly man’s finger to be amputated and later led to his death, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Luzerne County Court.
The lawsuit, filed by Munley Law attorney Katie Nealon on behalf of the estate of 79-year-old Donald Cox, claims the dog had demonstrated “vicious propensities” and was typically muzzled by its owners prior to the February 2015 attack.
Cox, the lawsuit states, was sitting on his porch on South Hanover Street in Nanticoke when the dog “suddenly and without warning” came onto the property and bit his hand. Cox made multiple trips to the hospital for his injuries and on Feb. 26, 2015, had his left index finger amputated. He died eight hours later.
The bite inflicted multiple injuries on Cox, “all of which caused him great pain, agony, and suffering, both physical and mental, and which led to his death,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says the dog’s owners are believed to be a combination of Jeffrey Seiwell, his mother, Suzanne Savitski, both of New Grant Street, Nanticoke, and Lezah Davis, an inmate currently lodged at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Also named as defendants are Brian and Kimberly Kaminski, who the suit identifies as owners of the New Grant Street property.
Nealon did not immediately return multiple messages Wednesday seeking comment on the lawsuit.
Seiwell, the lawsuit states, told Cox he’d return with the dog’s paperwork after the attack but never did, demonstrating “a consciousness of guilt.” Seiwell and Davis were tracked down and interviewed after the Nanticoke Police Department publicized the attack, but the dog’s rabies information couldn’t be determined, according to the lawsuit.
Court records show Seiwell, 33, was convicted in August 2015 of harboring a dangerous dog, a summary offense.
The lawsuit seeks punitive damages.