Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

December 14, 2013

Suit filed in case of woman killed by dog

VALDOSTA — The husband of a woman attacked and killed by a pit bull has filed a wrongful death suit against Lowndes County, its animal shelter and the residents of the home where the attack occurred.

Misty Wyno, 40, was attacked and killed by a male pit bull on Dec. 8, 2011, while visiting her neighbors at a 4600 block Mount Zion Road residence. She went to her neighbor’s residence to borrow some grits when a dog either broke its chain or was unchained and attacked. She was bitten severely on her legs, arms and head and died as a result of her injuries, according to reports.

The civil action filed Thursday, Dec. 5, in Lowndes County Superior Court, by Jason Wyno, the victim’s husband, names Lowndes County Animal Control and several employees as defendants as well as Jerrica Gonzalez, Cole Warner and Bobbi Joe Courson, the three individuals who were living in the residence.

The suit claims Lowndes County Animal Control acted negligently in its handling of previous complaints about animals at the Mount Zion Road address and nearby residences and acted with malice by “repeatedly refusing to investigate or take any action with regards to the dangerous dogs” at those locations, according to court documents.

The action was filed just days before the statute of limitations ran out on Monday, Dec. 9. Georgia state code allows a two-year window from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.

The suit lists six instances in which animal control responded to complaints about various dogs at Mount Zion Road residences, including a Sept. 13, 2011, incident in which a child was bitten on the face while trying to reach puppies in a dog house. The suit claims no dog was seized in this case and no action was taken; however, the dog was seized after the incident, observed and returned to the owners on Oct. 7, 2011, according to animal control reports. As a matter of policy, animal control does not return animals to owners if they are deemed dangerous, said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County clerk. Though mentioned in the suit, this is not the same dog involved in Misty Wyno’s death.

“That is not the same dog, but the suit implies that it is,” said Jim Elliott, attorney for Lowndes County.

Elliott does not believe the dog responsible for Misty Wyno’s death was ever involved in a situation where the county responded. The incident’s investigative case file lists 11 instances when animal control was called to Mount Zion Road residences to respond to complaints about dogs owned by Warner and Gonzalez, but shows no record of an incident involving the pit bull named Grinder that attacked Wyno.

Following the attack, Grinder and the female dog that bit the child on the face in September were relinquished to animal control by Warner and Gonzalez and euthanized, according to records. Documents indicate that Warner was the owner of the dog that killed Wyno.

“I do not believe the allegations against the county and the county’s employees to be true,” said Elliott. “And the law is clear that the behavior of dogs in situations like these that result in a death is the responsibility of the dog owners.”

Elliott only represents Lowndes County, the animal shelter and its employees in this case. As of Friday, Gonzalez has been served with a notice of the suit. Courson and Warner had not.

In July 2012, Southern District Attorney J. David Miller sought a grand jury indictment of Gonzalez, Warner and Courson on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, but a Lowndes County grand jury did not find sufficient evidence and did not issue an indictment.

Text Only
Local News
  • Baytree Animal Hospital LB copy.JPG Animal hospital named Business of the Week

    Baytree Animal Hospital was named Leading Business of the Week by the  Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce for July 14.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gavel-courtroom.jpg Water treatment plant discussed

    The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners discussed purchasing two pieces of equipment for the Alapaha Water Treatment Plant and the Spring Creek System for a total of $1,638,000 during its Monday work session and is expected to vote on the issue tonight.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • education.jpg Charter school petition denied

    Both the Valdosta City and Lowndes County school boards unanimously denied the joint charter petition from Scintilla Charter Academy during their respective meetings Monday evening.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • echols_alapapa.jpg WWALS gets grant from river network

    The Willacoochee, Withlacoochee, Alapaha, and Little River Systems Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) received a $500 Alapaha Water Trail Grant from the Georgia River Network

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140718-ARJim2.jpg Teacher at home anywhere in the world

    Variety is the spice of life. South Georgia is home to a diverse group of people, each with a unique life story. One man with glorious tales of travel and selfless volunteer work is Jim Kokoruda.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire2a.jpg Blaze damages North Lowndes home

    Lowndes County Fire Rescue responded to a fire call Sunday at 3756 Cross Creek Circle near Bemiss Road.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 140719-KidsInc3 copy.jpg Kids get a taste of retail operations

    Valdosta Mall shoppers may have noticed a few additional shopping options Saturday as they walked through center court.
    Children ranging in age from 6 to 15 years old set up booths and sold products to consumers.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140719-UnseenProject7 copy.jpg CrossPointe welcomes ‘Unseen’ travelers home

    CrossPointe Church members gathered Saturday to greet their pastor and fellow congregationalists returning from a filmed two-month-long motorcycle trip across the nation and back.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Runoff set for Tuesday

    Advanced voting ended Friday for the runoff election from the May 20 primary.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Modern Woodmen RC copy.JPG Woodmen welcomed to Valdosta

    The The Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber of Commerce and its Ambassadors welcomed the Valdosta chapter of Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 15.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

Top News

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results