An Oklahoma judge handed down a $15 million judgment for the family of a man killed by five dogs.
Edgar Brown was attacked by the pit bulls in October 2015 in southwest Oklahoma City.
Brown’s brother and his attorney don’t expect to actually get a cent of the judgment, but they say the lawsuit was never about the money. It was meant to send a clear message to dog owners to prevent a horrific tragedy like this from happening again.
“I was hoping it would get out, let people know that they’re going to be held responsible for their animals,” said Dexter Brown. “You can’t have animals go out and kill somebody, tear them to pieces like they did my brother, and nothing happen to you.”
Dexter is haunted by his brother’s death.
“If my brother comes into my mind, I’ve got to push him out,” he said. “I can’t even think about him because I saw what we went through.”
Edgar went to a friend’s home to take out his trash while he was out of town, and he was attacked by five pit bull mixes. They were in the backyard of the house next door and managed to get through the fence.
“But for the fact he was doing a good Samaritan deed, he wouldn’t have even been there that day,” said Noble McIntyre, Dexter’s attorney.
Edgar survived for two weeks in the hospital after the attack. Doctors had to amputate both his legs and an arm before he passed away.
“What I hate most is he had to go through that,” Dexter said. “Nobody should have to go through that.”
The five dogs were euthanized and their owner, Juan Diaz, was charged with second degree manslaughter. Diaz pleaded guilty and served a year in prison before he was deported to Mexico.
“It became clear to us right away there was no money involved, no insurance,” McIntyre said. “He did not have a job.”
Still, McIntyre wanted to pursue a civil suit against Diaz on behalf of Dexter. He hopes the $15 million settlement sends a strong message.
“If you’re going to have these animals, that’s your choice,” he said. “But if you don’t secure them, and they hurt somebody, the consequences that come from that are on you and we’re going to hold you accountable.”
Dexter says he doesn’t blame the dogs for what happened – he blames their owner.