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updated: 11/27/2013 2:04 PM

West Dundee woman gets $75,000 after dog attacked her, cat

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A West Dundee woman recently was awarded $75,000 in damages after a neighbor's dog ran in her home in July 2011, attacked her cat and, in the process, bit the woman several times.

Kane County Judge James Murphy entered the judgment in favor of Judy Horton last week after the dog owners, Terry and Victoria Schuler, of the 600 block of South Fifth Street, failed to appear in court at least twice.

In a sworn affidavit, Horton said she was attacked July 1, 2011, by the dog in her home on the 500 block of Ryan Lane. She said she had left some cat food in a bowl on her rear deck for her cat.

She saw a dog eating from the bowl and opened the door in an effort to stop it, but the dog ran inside.

"It all happened so fast. It was difficult for me to stop the defendant's dog," part of Horton's affidavit read. "The defendant's dog went after my domestic pet, namely my cat. Defendant's dog bit my cat several times."

The next day, Horton was treated for multiple bite marks on her leg and arm and a cut on her hand. But the wounds became infected, requiring four days of hospitalization and other medical treatment, according to court records.

Records show the Schulers were served with the lawsuit, but failed to appear in court Oct. 17 and last week, triggering the judgment against them under the state's Animal Control Act.

Victoria Schuler, who acted as her own attorney for part of the proceedings, argued in November 2012 court filings that Horton "willfully" brought the dog into her home and the Schulers should not be held liable.

Schuler argued that the food left outside encouraged animals to go inside.

"This is an unwise practice that the plaintiff practices, which invited animals to come," read part of Schuler's defense, which also argued she and her husband never willingly allowed the dog to run freely.

A message left with Troy Owens, who is the attorney for Horton, was not immediately returned.

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