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Does The Town Offer No Protection Against Dog Attacks?



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To the Editor:

On December 4th, 2013, my spouse and I were walking our two dogs – a senior yellow Lab and a younger terrier – around the block in our Dodgingtown neighborhood (on leash, of course) as we do every morning. Out of the blue, we were charged by a medium-sized black dog who bolted out into the street; he attacked our terrier first, and when we were able to pry him off, turned his attention to our yellow Lab. He latched on to our Lab's neck; thankfully, her substantial girth prevented any damage. However, the dog had bitten our terrier, who required medical attention at the Newtown Emergency Vet practice later that day.

I called Newtown Animal Control immediately to report the attack and file a complaint, but no one ever called me back. The owner of the attacking dog admitted to us later that day that he had allowed his three-year-old grandson to hold the dog's leash just prior to the attack and because his dog hates other dogs, it pulled the leash out of the child's hands.

This past Saturday, August 2nd 2014, another neighbor was walking his dog (on leash, as always), and again, the vicious dog attacked. The attack, which I did not witness, was apparently relentless, and it took significant time to finally pry the attacking dog off my neighbor's dog. My neighbor called the police, who sent out Animal Control, who said that nothing could be done unless the dog bit a human.

This morning, while walking my two dogs, I learned from another neighbor that the attacking dog had, a while ago, attacked and bitten a neighborhood Golden Retriever, which also required medical attention; again, the story was that the owner of the vicious dog was letting his three-year-old grandson hold the leash while walking the dog.

The owners of the vicious dog claim that the dog is very good with people; that said, they have to lock the dog up in the bathroom if anyone goes over there to talk to them, presumably because the dog can't be trusted.

Our neighborhood is a pleasant one, filled with lovely people, many young children, and many dogs of all sizes (including a new 12-week-old pup who lives a few houses away from us). At what point does the safety of taxpaying citizens trump the rights of an obviously irresponsible dog owner with a reputation for not being able to control his vicious dog who has repeatedly attacked neighbors' pets to the extent that they've required medical attention? Even if the dog cannot be removed from the residence or re-homed with someone who has the expertise to deal with an aggressive animal, why has it not been demanded by the town (certainly after three reported attacks) that the dog be muzzled before another attack occurs on another dog, or on a human – or one of the many children who live here?

Where does the town stand on this?


Elissa Altman

Webster Place, Newtown                    August 4, 2014

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