Amy and Peyton Janney III of Valparaiso are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed on
May 19 with the Porter County Superior Court that contends Porter County
Animal Shelter/Control as well as county officials are partly to blame for
injuries their son Quintin Janney sustained when he was attacked by a dog
belonging to their neighbor John Button of Valparaiso.
The boy was 9 years-old at the time of the attack which occurred on the
afternoon of March 15, 2009 in the 4300 Block of Ostedt Drive, the suit
The defendants named in the case also include Button, Porter County Indiana,
the Porter County Commissioners, and the Porter County Council. Representing
the Janney family is attorney David R. Novak of Schlyer & Associates injury
law firm in Merrillville.
On March 15, 2009, Quintin Janney was reportedly walking on his side of the
street with his brother to their house when Button’s two-year-old male
Rottweiler named Dashboard ran across and bit Quintin Janney’s left leg.
More injuries were caused to the boy’s left arm. The injuries resulted in
the boy receiving 94 stitches. The suit states that the two boys did nothing
to provoke the dog.
The Janney family accused Button of not obeying the ordinances of Porter
County and the state of Indiana. Allegations argue that Button negligently
or carelessly permitted his dogs to run loose, allowed them to exit the home
without receiving proper vaccinations, and failed to take corrective actions
after he received a citation from the county animal shelter.
According to the suit, employees at the county animal shelter received at
least ten calls in regards to Button’s dogs two years prior to the attack
and were aware that the animals acted aggressively, even frequently
discussing the matter during weekly staff meetings.
The suit contends that the county animal control/shelter is also at fault in
that it did not take legal action to detain the dogs even though they
reportedly sent a letter of correspondence to Button on March 22, 2008
saying they would be seeking a court order to remove the dogs if he failed
to comply with county ordinances. Between the time the letter was sent and
the attack a year later, the shelter received at least four additional
complaints of Button’s dogs running loose and acting viciously, the suit
The shelter also issued three citations to Button for failure to vaccinate
his dogs prior to the attack. It is believed that the shelter did in fact
impound the dog, but released him to his owner without being vaccinated or
verifying proof of vaccination.
The plaintiffs claim the shelter wrongfully released the dog with the
knowledge that the dog was characterized as dangerous.
“At all times relevant, the Porter County Defendants negligently, carelessly
and/or recklessly failed to follow their own procedures and policies
relating to Defendant John Button’s dog Dashboard,” the suit said. One
paragraph also states that “upon information or belief,” the Porter County
Defendants did not provide adequate funding for the animal shelter/control
to enforce its procedures and policies.
The county reserves the right to impound vicious or loose dogs and the
authority to destroy dogs that have been declared vicious or dangerous.
The suit does not give a specific amount of money sought to compensate the
plaintiffs’ losses or injuries.
Porter County Attorney Gwenn Rinkenberger told the Chesterton Tribune
she would be representing the shelter in the case but had not been served
the suit yet to give further comment.