CONNECTICUT -- A New London woman who was attacked and seriously injured by a pit bull staying at the pet-friendly Marriott Residence Inn on Route 27 in 2014 has reached a $300,000 settlement with the owner of the hotel, according to her attorney.
Dan Horgan of New London said Tuesday that the lawsuit filed by his client Jo-Lynne Grillo, who suffered a permanent injury that left her with limited use of her right arm and disfigurement, had been slated to go to a jury trial on Feb. 27, but the two sides agreed to the settlement during a daylong mediation session in New London Superior Court on Monday.
How can a hotel be expected to know whether or not a dog is vicious? They can't have their desk staff deciding which dog can stay and which dog can't - they'll get sued for discrimination. I realize that her friend Kotyk has since died, but her estate is there and should be the one to pay - not the hotel. Her son chose to own this dog and let his mother watch it for him - why should he collect from her estate while the hotel is the one stuck paying the victim?
Now, Horgan said, he is talking to state Rep. Christine Conley, D-Groton, about possibly introducing a bill that would require pet-friendly hotels to do a background check on dogs allowed to stay with guests and possibly take further measures to prevent future attacks by large and potentially dangerous dogs.
Horgan said that “incredibly, the (Residence Inn) still has an unrestricted open door policy for pit bulls and other large dogs.”
New Haven attorney Joe Musco, who represents VIII-HIII-Whitehall Avenue LLC, the hotel ownership entity set up by the Waterford Hotel Group, which owns the property, did not return a phone message Tuesday.
Horgan said the settlement ends a “horrific ordeal” for Grillo.
According to an account by Horgan and Stonington police, Grillo went to the hotel to pick up a friend, Eileen Kotyk, for an afternoon of shopping. Staying with Kotyk and her husband, who were at the hotel after their home was damaged in a fire, were their golden retriever and their son’s pit bull named Bullet.
When Kotyk opened the door and left to get something, the dog attacked and repeatedly bit Grillo in the second-floor corridor.
Kotyk unsuccessfully tried to stop the dog by hitting it with a pan.
Finally a hotel desk clerk pulled Grillo into a room. The dog remained in the hallway.
A Stonington police officer who arrived was forced to shoot the large dog after he suffered minor bites to his hand and arm when he tried to help Kotyk get control of the dog after the attack. The dog initially survived the gunshot from the officer’s .45 caliber handgun.
The officer was then able to corral the dog in a stairwell away from other guests until Christina Donovan, a Groton Town Police animal control officer, arrived. She was able to guide the dog to the Stonington animal control truck with the use of a noose at the end of a long pole (catchpole).
The dog, which had blood dripping from its shoulder and abdomen after being struck with a bullet, whimpered as it refused to walk up the ramp into the truck. As police and Old Mystic firefighters tried to coax the dog into the van, one officer stood a few feet way, his gun drawn.
They were finally able to get the dog into the animal control truck by putting a blanket over it and lifting it up and into a cage in the truck. The dog was taken for veterinary treatment but later died.
Photos released by Horgan show Grillo with numerous bite marks to her arm as well as a blood-soaked rug and the dog standing over Grillo in the hallway. Grillo was taken by ambulance to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.
Because of the severity of her injuries she was transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she underwent surgery.
Grillo eventually was able to return to her job as nurse at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital. She has since retired after 38 years. Kotyk, who also was sued by Grillo, later died and was removed from the suit.
(The Day - Feb 7, 2017)