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Rose Rocco files lawsuit after dog bite during state House campaign

BROOKSVILLE — Former Hernando County Commissioner Rose Rocco is suing the owner of a dog that bit her as she campaigned for a state House seat last year.

In the complaint filed in Hernando Circuit Court, Rocco alleges that Glenn Wilcoxson was negligent by failing to secure his dog, Mister, or warn visitors that the animal was vicious. Mister ran out of Wilcoxson's house on Montano Avenue in Spring Hill last October and bit Rocco's left forearm after a woman answered the door, the suit says.

A Democrat making a bid for the District 35 seat, Rocco was there to pick up yard signs Wilcoxson had made for her.

Regina Jacob, who was renting the home to Wilcoxson at the time, is also named as a defendant. The complaint says Jacob failed to require her tenant to carry liability insurance.

Rocco, 72, is seeking in excess of $15,000 for "pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, medical expenses, (and) lost wages," the suit says.

Rocco declined to comment on Tuesday and referred questions to her attorney, Thomas Jerla, who did not return a message left at his office.

Wilcoxson said he had not seen the complaint and declined to comment. Jacob could not be reached.

In an interview with the Times after she was bitten, Rocco said she was able to beat back Mister, and within seconds the dog released its grip.

Rocco; her husband, Peter, and a campaign volunteer drove roughly 4 miles to the emergency room at Spring Hill Regional Hospital. She needed about 15 stitches.

Wilcoxson, 48, was not home at the time of the attack and was not able to show proof of current rabies vaccinations, according to an animal enforcement incident report. He handed Mister over to county Animal Services and asked that the dog be euthanized after the requisite quarantine period.

Rocco later lost the House race to three-term Republican incumbent Rob Schenck.

News researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Reach Tony Marrero at or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.