MEMPHIS, Tenn. — You can’t bring back what is snatched away. That’s a reality Gardenia Parker lives with everyday.
“My daddy was a wonderful man, and he was loved by everybody,” she said.
But her dad, 71-year-old William Parker, died a violent death when was mauled by two pit bulls as he walked in his neighborhood in 2010.
The 911 calls from that day are chilling.
“People are getting attacked by pit bulls . Yes ma’am ! You need police to come and shoot these dogs! ” one caller tells the 911 operator.
“Somebody come beating on the door saying the old man that sits on the porch all the time listening to music, he is being attacked by two pit bulls,” said Parker. “My dad was lying there in a pool of blood, the dogs were still attacking him when I got there. ”
The dogs even attacked Gardenia as she tried to help her dad.
William Parker died that day.
“When he was on the ground, he took his last breath on my leg,” said Gardenia Parker.
For seven years ,Gardenia Parker and her family have lived with that horror as they fought against the owner and management of the apartment complex where the dogs and their owner lived.
“We felt the apartment complex, with knowledge of those animals being on the premises, had full responsibility essentially to prevent the people in the neighborhood, the tenants and the residents of that apartment complex from being injured by a dangerous condition on the premises,” said Parker’s attorney, Daryl Gray.
The family sued the apartments management, Epstein Enterprises, and the owner, Longview Heights Partners, saying they allowed the vicious dogs to stay at the complex. The lawsuit says they knew or should have known the dogs had attacked or threatened other people too.
“As a landlord you have a duty to keep people in the community safe, keep your tenants safe from a dangerous condition on your property,” said Gray.
After years of legal wrangling, the court ruled on October 31 that the apartment owners were at fault and awarded Gardenia Parker $2.5 million.
The court said it was for the mental and physical suffering endured by William Parker and for the loss suffered by Gardenia and her mother.
They are finally some relief for a pain that will never go away.
“I have to live without him. I got to go everyday through life, wake up everyday without my dad. We don’t have Christmas, we don’t have Thanksgiving because who are we going to have it with? ” said Parker. “I love you. I miss you.”
The attorney for the apartment owners say they have no comment on the $2.5 million award. But they say they’re filing new motions in court.
And depending on the outcome of those they will be filing an appeal.
The dogs’ owner lived in the apartments, but was in jail when the attack happened. He was not charged.
A woman identified as Sherry Wooten, who was keeping the dogs, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the case under an Alford Plea. The dogs were eventually put down,