Dog bite turns into $1M suit after man attacks kennel owner

Kelly Holleran Nov. 17, 2008, 3:44am

What started with a dog bite has evolved into a million dollar legal fight, after a local kennel owner claimed the dog's owner tried to kill her.

Guido Edmund Hanak accused Cherie M. Brum, owner of Hi Tower Kennel in Beaumont, of allowing his dog to receive a bite on the ear while boarded at the kennel.

Brum claims Hanak physically attacked her because of the dog bite and would have killed her had it not been for her martial arts training.

Claiming the criminal system was too lenient on Hanak, the kennel owner has now turned to the civil courts for justice and has filed suit against Hanak for $1 million.

Although Brum denied the allegation that the dog received its injury at Hi Tower, she tried to reimburse Hanak for the money he paid while boarding the dog, according to the complaint filed Nov. 10 in Jefferson County District Court.

When Brum went outside to return Hanak's money after he complained on Nov. 12, 2006, he began his assault on her, the suit states.

"The Defendant got out of his truck and called the Plaintiff a (expletive) and began a series of events in which he viciously attacked the Plaintiff," the suit states.

Brum claims Hanak hit her in the face with his fist and tried to kill or seriously and permanently injure her.

"Defendant lifted Plaintiff off her feet and tried to slam her against the fence on several occasions causing severe pain and injury to Plaintiff," the suit states. "The conduct instituted by the Defendant had the purpose to try to break her back or spinal column. During this struggle, Defendant tried to suffocate Plaintiff at times and continued to hit her with all the force he was able to exert against Plaintiff."

Because of Brum's martial arts training, she was able to prevent Hanak from killing her, according to the complaint.

It was also thanks to the intervention of a neighbor, Robert Honey, that Hanak did not kill Brum, she claims.

Because of the assault, Brum still feels it necessary to have a concealed handgun license and to carry a firearm on her at al times "due to her very real fear of further atrocities being committed upon her by Defendant, or anyone acting on behalf of the Defendant," the suit states.

After the attack, Brum went to the Beaumont Police Department and the Jefferson County District Attorney's office where she filed a report against Hanak, according to the complaint.

Hanak was placed on a one year deferred adjudication probation and fined $4,000 and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $6,326.86, plus costs on Aug. 30, 2007, the suit states.

But Brum does not feel the punishment was harsh enough.

"Had the State of Texas spoke with Plaintiff, she would have objected to this sentence for she believes Defendant should have been charged with a felony offence and should have gone to prison for his unlawful and unmentionable conduct by assaulting Plaintiff in the manner in that he did," the suit states.

In addition to the $1 million, Brum is seeking costs and other relief to which she is entitled.

Brum will be representing herself.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham of the 58th District Court.

Case No. A182-687

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