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Tampa Bay Times

Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna dismissed from dog-bite lawsuit

By William March,

St. Petersburg's Anna Paulina Luna and her congressional campaign have been dismissed from a lawsuit brought by the family of a 9-year-old boy who was bitten by a Belgian Malinois named Gunner that the congresswoman says is owned by her husband. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

A lawsuit over a child bitten by a dog has been dismissed against Rep. Anna Paulina Luna and her 2022 congressional campaign, but remains active against her husband, who she maintains is the actual owner of the dog.

The incident occurred in November 2021 while Luna and her husband were visiting a youth fishing tournament in Madeira Beach, and while she was running for the Pinellas County 15th District congressional seat.

The dog, Gunner, a Belgian Malinois, lunged at and bit a 9-year-old boy, requiring 11 stitches, after the boy ran near the dog while playing with a football with others, according to the police report on the incident.

The boy’s father, Chad Clarke, sued Luna and her husband, Andy Gamberzky, and the campaign, alleging that the couple attended the event as a campaign function.

The lawsuit sought $30,000 for medical treatment, scarring, pain and anguish.

But attorneys for Luna and the campaign argued that it wasn’t a campaign event, that the campaign had no responsibility for or control over the dog, and that Gamberzky, an Air Force special forces veteran, was the dog’s owner, not Luna.

The dog came from a non-profit organization that trains service dogs and provides them to veterans with disabilities, or to their families for security while they’re deployed.

Gamberzky is a veteran of several combat deployments, during which he was wounded and received a Purple Heart, said David Lisko, an attorney for Luna and her campaign.

He said Gamberzky received the dog for emotional support for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lisko praised the judge in the case and said it was “the right ruling … everyone got a fair shake.”

Byron Kennedy, an attorney for Clarke, said Gamberzky has been “cooperative” in dealing with the case and that he hopes and expects to reach a settlement.

He said he intends to voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit against another defendant, the non-profit Old Salt Fishing Foundation, which held the tournament.

Gamberzky’s attorney, Adolfo Valero, declined to comment.

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