St. Charles woman’s life ‘turned upside down’ after vicious attack by Rottweilers

Laura Kizman hopes her lawsuit against the dog owners sends a message that people with aggressive dog breeds have to be responsible and properly chain their dogs.

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Laura Kizman, 51, gets emotional as she speaks during a news conference Tuesday morning in the Loop about a lawsuit she filed after she was attacked by her neighbors’ two rottweilers on Dec. 13 while jogging in her St. Charles neighborhood.

Laura Kizman, 51, gets emotional during a news conference Tuesday morning in the Loop about a lawsuit she filed after she was attacked by her neighbors’ two Rottweilers on Dec. 13.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A St. Charles woman said her family’s life was “turned upside down” after she was viciously attacked by her neighbors’ two Rottweilers.

Laura Kizman underwent emergency surgery and spent more than three weeks in the hospital and at a west suburban rehabilitation center after the attack on Dec. 13.

The mom of four who ran up to eight miles daily now needs a walker to maneuver around. She said she’s still spending a lot of time in bed.

“It’s been really hard, I’m in a lot of pain,” a teary-eyed Kizman said Tuesday in the downtown lobby of the Cavanagh Law Group office.

Flanked by attorneys, Laura Kizman and her husband, Mike Kizman (left), exit a news conference Tuesday morning in the Loop about a lawsuit they filed after Laura Kizman was attacked by her neighbors’ two rottweilers on Dec. 13 while jogging in their St. Charles neighborhood.

Flanked by attorneys, Laura Kizman and her husband, Mike Kizman (left), leave a news conference Tuesday morning in the Loop about a lawsuit they filed after Laura Kizman was attacked by her neighbors’ two Rottweilers on Dec. 13.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Kizman, 51, and her husband, Mike, are suing the dog owners, Steven and Ann Dorando, claiming they were negligent in the way they supervised their pets.

The lawsuit, filed this month in Kane County, alleged the Dorandos’ dogs had “a history of aggressive behavior” toward humans and other animals and previously bit other humans.

The Dorandos didn’t immediately return the Chicago Sun-Times’ requests for comment.

Tim Cavanagh, the attorney representing the Kizmans, said Rottweilers were among “the most dangerous dogs in America.”

“They account for 2% of the population of the 90 million dogs in America [and cause] 10% of the fatalities,” Cavanagh said. “In America, anyone has the right to own this type of breed but there is responsibilities with those rights. When you have dogs this dangerous, you have to leash them, chain them, train them, and keep them behind fences. And their neighbors did not do that.”

On that chilly December day, Laura Kizman was out for her routine morning run when she stopped on the corner to help her neighbor. While assisting in capturing one of Ann Dorando’s other dogs on the loose, Kizman said the Dorandos’ two Rottweilers started to attack her, allegedly biting her from head to toe.

“Very quickly I knew I was in a lot of trouble,” said Kizman, who recalled thinking that she “was probably going to die” if someone didn’t stop the dogs.

“The first thing I thought of was my family and my kids, I have four kids,” Kizman said as she began to cry.

Kizman tried to fight off the dogs but was unsuccessful. Her neighbor also tried to stop them but to no avail.

Another neighbor who saw the attack grabbed a gun and shot one of the dogs, resulting in the other Rottweiler retreating in fear.

Kizman doesn’t know how long the attack lasted. She said it felt like an “eternity” but estimated it went on for up to 10 minutes.

“It was awful,” she said. “The point for me is my life was turned upside down — our life was — and never in a million years on my daily run in our neighborhood, our quiet neighborhood of St. Charles, did I think that was going to happen.”

Flanked by her husband, Mike Kizman (left), and attorney, Tim Cavanagh, 51-year-old Laura Kizman gets emotional as she speaks during a news conference Tuesday morning in the Loop. The Kizman family filed a lawsuit after Laura Kizman was attacked by her neighbors’ two rottweilers on Dec. 13 while jogging in their St. Charles neighborhood.

Flanked by her husband, Mike Kizman (left), and attorney Tim Cavanagh, 51-year-old Laura Kizman gets emotional while talking about being attacked by her neighbors’ two Rottweilers on Dec. 13.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Kizman said she was airlifted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, where she underwent emergency surgery. She then was transferred to Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton.

She spent 24 days in the hospital before returning home Jan. 6.

Kizman said the attack and its aftermath has taken an emotional toll on her family. With her husband out of town on a business trip on the day of the incident, Kizman said her 18-year-old daughter had to “step into adulthood very quickly and be by my side.”

“Obviously I’m crying about it so it did take its toll on my family,” she said. “But they’re kids and they’re very resilient and they’re just glad that I’m back and have my sassy attitude, I guess.”

Kizman said she believes the second Rottweiler was euthanized after the attack. Her husband said the Dorandos did reach out to apologize for what had happened and said “they felt terrible.”

Cavanagh noted that the Kizman family has racked up a substantial amount of medical bills. They’re seeking an unspecified amount of money as well as the cost of the lawsuit and “for any other relief the court deems just,” according to the suit.

“The message has to be sent that when you have dogs like this ... you have a responsibility and you have to act responsible,” Cavanagh said.

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