Judge awards $1.2 million to Franklin teen disfigured by dog bite

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A New London Superior Court judge has awarded $1.2 million to a Franklin teen who was severely injured three years ago when he was attacked by a black Labrador retriever at a friend's house in Windham.

Judge Susan B. Handy also awarded $241,986 to the parents of 16-year-old Owen Carbray for their son's past and future medical expenses.

Carbray, who is entering his junior year at Norwich Free Academy, has undergone 10 surgeries and needs at least two more, according to his attorney Dale P. Faulkner, who represented the Carbray family along with attorney Kevin G. Smith from the Faulkner and Graves law firm.

The attack occurred on Nov. 8, 2013, at 338 Windham Center Road, Windham, the rental home at the time of the dog's owners, Nicole and Mariusz Krys. 

Carbray suffered injuries to his left eye, face, chin, lip, neck, shoulder and chest. He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital via Life Star helicopter.

The Windham Animal Control Department investigated, and the dog, named Bubba, was euthanized.

Carbray's parents, Kevin and Tanya Carbray, were pleased with the decision, which Handy issued on Aug. 11 following an uncontested hearing for damages in Superior Court.

The parents said they "felt that they should stand up for their son and look for justice for him," according to Faulkner.

The Krys family had no renter's insurance, but a court can attach their earnings and assets, and the Carbrays will be working with another attorney to collect the award, according to Faulkner.

He said a judge would call the couple into court and question them under oath about their assets.

The attack on Carbray apparently was unprovoked, and Bubba was not previously known to the Windham animal control department, according to Animal Control Officer Joan Lamont.

Under Connecticut law, the owner or keeper of a dog is liable if the animal bites someone, whether or not it had a propensity to be vicious.

The dog owners represented themselves at the hearing and admitted they were responsible.

"It was our family dog who we had as a puppy, and that he did that to a child is hard," Nicole Krys said during a phone interview Friday. "Through the whole case, I've said I'm responsible. He was my dog. It's been a long process and it's been very emotional."

Faulkner said he warned the judge before putting into evidence photographs that were taken of Carbray's injuries by medical staff.

The photos, he said, were "among the most graphic and appalling he has seen in his many years of representing injured people."

He said surgeons were able to reattach the skin around Carbray's eye that was torn off during the attack. Carbray has a scar around around the left side of his month and a bulge in his lip that causes a droop when he smiles and he has a raised red scar on his chest.

Faulkner said the incident points to the need for parents to ask about the presence of animals, as well as guns, at homes their children might be visiting.

"Guns first, dogs second," the lawyer said.

k.florin@theday.com

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