The owners of dogs that authorities believe killed an elderly Missouri bicyclist will pay a $300,000 settlement.
The civil lawsuit was brought in Christian County, south of Springfield, about a year and a half after the man was allegedly mauled by two boxers.
Joseph and Lindsay Brink, the dogs’ owners at the time, are named as defendants. The settlement is not an admission of liability by the defendants, but it does require them to pay $300,000 “as the result of the death of Werner Fritz Vogt.”
About one-third will go to Vernon Vogt, Werner Vogt’s son. About $87,000 will pay for Vogt’s medical expenses before he died, and the rest will be collected by the law firm representing the family.
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Originally, authorities never suspected dogs after Werner Vogt, from his hospital bed, pointed at photos of a coyote as the culprit of the attack. Christian County Sheriff Brad Cole said that changed when neighbors in the Rogersville area reported many instances of dogs roaming free.
After Vogt died, detectives canvassed the area near the attack and took DNA samples from a number of dogs. The samples were then sent to a lab at the University of Florida, with the hope that one would match animal samples taken from Vogt’s clothing.
It was the first time Cole had ever conducted DNA testing of dogs in a case.
The testing proved successful, leading authorities to the Brinks’ two boxer dogs.
Cole added that criminal charges may be filed.
Christian County Circuit Clerk Barb Stillings said the settlement was reached relatively quickly for “a case of this size.”
The lawsuit was filed in April.
Cole said one of the dogs is with a new owner, and he believed the other remains with the Brinks.
The Springfield News-Leader reported that Olen Asby adopted one of the dogs. Asby did not initially know it might have been involved in the deadly mauling.
“He means a lot to me,” he said. “He’s a life-saver.”