A 12-year-old girl bitten in the face by a dog three years ago at Bolling Air Force Base was awarded $335,000 yesterday by a federal judge here who said the federal government must pay the judgment.
Tracey Nelson, who now lives in Minnesota, was bitten by a German shepherd April 13, 1983. She suffered extensive facial disfigurement and eye damage and has been hindered in talking and swallowing, according to a written decision by U.S. District Judge Joyce Hens Green.
A spokesman in the U.S. attorney's office, which defended the government, said officials are considering appealing.
Tracey and her brother and mother were living in base housing at Bolling while her father, a Navy enlisted man, was serving in Japan. The dog was owned by a neighboring family and, according to base records, bit two children in 1981.
Green said that base officials should have known the dog was dangerous and might bite another child. She said the government was liable for the award because it regulated those living in base housing.
The judge said that Tracey's future medical and psychiatric needs would require $135,000 and that she should receive $200,000 for her pain and suffering. The money will be paid to Tracey's mother, Linda M. Nelson, and will be administered through a Minnesota court, Green said.