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Couple sues man over dog attack

A couple from Italy sued a Land O'Lakes man in federal court Wednesday, claiming an attack by the man's two guard dogs caused severe injuries that led to a heart attack. Gino and Sara Di Eugenio are seeking at least $100,000 _ $50,000 each _ from Romolo Ricci, claiming that Ricci neither restrained the dogs nor warned Gino Di Eugenio that the dogs were dangerous and should be feared.

Di Eugenio had permission to be on Ricci's property on March 31, when the dogs knocked him down and attacked him.

The lawsuit says that Di Eugenio was viciously attacked, bitten all over his body, including gaping wounds in his face and damage to the muscle in his forehead.

"(Gino Di Eugenio) will be greatly handicapped and unable to lead a normal life," Sarasota lawyer Peter Martin wrote in the complaint.

Because of his injuries, Di Eugenio suffered heart problems, weakness in his left arm, distortion of his mouth, and symptoms of neurasthenia _ an emotional disorder characterized by headaches, feelings of inadequacy and difficulty communicating with others, according to the complaint.

Eventually, Di Eugenio was hospitalized because his condition had deteriorated so that he was suffering from severe depression, self-neglect, decreased self-sufficiency and impaired speech, according to the complaint. He later suffered a heart attack.

His injuries are permanent and the couple still is paying medical bills, the suit states.

Mrs. Di Eugenio is seeking damages for the loss of the consortium, companionship and care of her husband.

Neither the Di Eugenios nor Ricci could be reached for comment Wednesday.