Couple files civil suit against beachside doc for dog attack

VERO BEACH — Dermatologist Tim Ioannides will now have to defend himself against a civil lawsuit at the same time he faces a criminal case of battery after his dogs attacked a couple walking along the ocean on South Beach.

The couple who reported the dog attack in December filed a civil lawsuit against the doctor, seeking $15,000 in damages, according to court records. Last month, the State Attorney’s Office filed battery charges against Dr. Ioannides after the Vero Beach Police Department found probable cause that the doctor did batter Ray Visser as Mr. Visser and his wife, Suzanne, walked the beach.

On Dec. 12, the Vissers were walking on the beach when a pack of four German Shepherds and another, smaller, dog charged them, barking aggressively, the Vissers told our sister publication Vero Beach 32963 in December.

According to the Vissers, they armed themselves with a foot-long stick and Mrs. Visser’s beach shoes to protect themselves from the dogs. That’s when Dr. Ioannides ran up to the couple, yelling at them to not hit his dogs, an incident report states.

Mr. Visser told police that the “very strong man” rushed him, grabbed him and forced him into the ocean, restraining him for several minutes. All the while, the dogs circled Mrs. Visser, he husband said. The dogs’ owner, later identified as Dr. Ioannides, then left the scene with the dogs.

Mr. Visser called 911, borrowing a phone from a man who was hitting golf balls about 300 feet away, and reported the incident.

Authorities responded and identified Dr. Ioannides, who told them “that he let his dogs go on the beach as he always does. The dogs then ran up to the couple on the beach and surrounded them,” according to the incident report. He added that the dogs “were not going to bite them – they wanted to play.”

At the time, the responding officer reminded the doctor about the dog ordinance that prohibits dogs from the beach.

Dr. Ioannides is also facing a fraud and breach of contract lawsuit filed by a former doctor in the same dermatological practice in Martin County. The lawsuit is unrelated to the Vero Beach battery case.

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