Hawaii Island family stuck in insurance payout battle a year after brutal dog attack on child

A young girl was attacked by her neighbor's pit bulls, now her family is taking legal action.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 6:44 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 13, 2022 at 8:03 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii Island family is still waiting for compensation nearly a year after a child was attacked by pit bulls — and the hold-up is tied to an insurance company’s policy.

Last November, Violette Beatte who is now 7 years old, was walking home from the bus stop with her big sisters in Mountainview when her mom said she was attacked by two of their neighbors’ pit bulls.

Beatte’s injuries were so bad that she was flown to Oahu for treatment.

To this day, Beatte said she still feels the effects.

“I’m good, except I get scared when dogs bark or growl,” said Beatte.

Her mom, Shalaye Newman, said her daughter lost 50% of her vision in her right eye and is struggling with anxiety.

“And not just with dogs, it kind of sparked this anxiety about everything, anything touching her face, and she doesn’t expect it,” explained Newman.

The family sued and the dog owners expected their homeowner’s insurance to pay.

However, the RLI Insurance Company said the dog owners did not follow the requirement of disclosing whether or not they had animals or large dogs on the property.

RLI is seeking to revoke the homeowners’ insurance policy.

In response, the dog owners released the following statement.

When applying for our insurance policy, we answered the questions truthfully and did not misrepresent that we had a dog nor the breed of our dog. It was acknowledged by our broker’s office that an error in data entry may be the reason for the misunderstanding.

The Beatte family’s attorney said the legal disputes will prolong the family’s suffering.

“It could absolutely, potentially delay, Shay and the girls from getting compensation,” said Attorney Jacob Lowenthal.

“But financially, that really hits us hard, it leaves me between a rock and a hard place,” said Newman. “Just coming up with money for school uniforms and basic things, it’s been difficult.”

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