STAMFORD, Connecticut; ALBANY, New York––Attacks by shelter dogs, occurring in 2014 at an unprecedented pace, were spotlighted again during the last week in June near either end of the Taconic Parkway, linking the outer New York City suburbs to the New York state capital in Albany.
Maggie Gordon of the Stamford Advocate on June 24, 2014 disclosed that Stamford, Connecticut resident Matthew Lazarus had sued the Stamford Animal Shelter for injuries inflicted by a Rottweiler. A day later a pit bull injured four experienced personnel at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in the Albany suburb of Menands, New York.
Lazarus on September 25, 2012 visited the Stamford Animal Shelter in hops of adopting a dog. A volunteer recommended a Rottweiler named Bosco, and took Bosco out of his kennel to meet Lazarus. Bosco allegedly had bite history, but Lazarus’ lawsuit alleges that this was not disclosed.
“According to the lawsuit, Lazarus suffered puncture wounds to his right palm,” and “required surgery to repair the ulnar nerve in his wrist and elbow. In addition, [the attack] caused a deformity to his hand and decreased sensation to his right pinky and ring fingers, among other problems. As a result of the injury, Lazarus was unable to perform some of the duties required of him in his job,” summarized Maggie Gordon of the Stamford Advocate.
“While court paperwork simply shows that Lazarus seeks at least $15,000 in damages,” Gordon added, his attorney, Alan Pickel, “said the extent of the medical treatments and other resulting problems will likely result in a six-figure case.
The Lazarus lawsuit was reportedly filed on March 7, 2014, more than a month before three incidents came to light in which dogs adopted from the Stamford shelters attacked the adopters. The Connecticut State Bureau of Regulation & Inspection had in 2008 and 2011 warned Stamford Animal Shelter director Laura Hollywood against rehoming dangerous dogs. Hired in March 2005, Hollywood was suspended on May 2, 2014; fired on June 17, 2014; and on June 20, 2014 voluntarily surrendered to the Stamford police department in response to a warrant issued for her arrest on three counts of reckless endangerment.
But the Lazarus case was not among the cases listed in the city of Stamford’s statement outlining the charges against Hollywood.
“”I wouldn’t be surprised if there were other instances of similar situations given the manner that they handled their affairs over there,” Pickel told Gordon.
Meanwhile in Menands, two to three hours north of Stamford via the Taconic Parkway, a pit bull being held by Mohawk Hudson Humane Society staff while receiving a rabies vaccination apparently shook off a muzzle, bit one staff member to the bone, inflicting leg and hand injuries, then bit three other staff members who rushed to her aid.
“The 2-year-old dog was just hours from being released back to its owner,” Jordan Carleo-Evangelist of the Albany Times-Union reported. “The male pit bull mix, estimated to weigh about 60 pounds, was being held at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society after it bit two people in Albany,” making in all six bite victims in about three days.
The pit bull escaped the clinic area where the staff members were bitten, but was caught and shot by police in an exterior holding area, after police determined that a tranquilizer could not be used.
“I can’t go into detail about our employee’s injuries other than to say two were severe and two were minor,” Mohawk Hudson Humane Society executive director Brad Shear told ANIMALS 24-7. “All required medical attention. The person handling the dog is very experienced with aggressive dogs,” Shear added.
Thirty-nine people are known to have been injured by shelter dogs in the first half of 2014. At least thirty of the dogs were pit bulls, two were German shepherds, one was an Australian cattle dog, and five were not identified by breed.
Only 25 people were known to have been injured by shelter dogs in all of 2013, and 15 in 2012.
35 shelter dogs have killed people since 2010, up from five in the preceding 22 years, and none in the 130 years before that.