16 Stitches for 2-Year-Old Boy Bit by Dog at Mead Park


A Stamford dog is under quarantine through June 19 after biting a 22-month-old at Mead Park last week.

It happened at about 4:22 p.m. Friday and the child needed 16 stitches after the Staffordshire terrier bit him on the left arm, according to the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control Unit.

Two little girls had been petting the 2-year-old male terrier “and he appeared to be friendly and for whatever reason, decided to bite the boy standing right there,” Animal Control Officer Maryann Kleinschmitt said.

The animal, which is up-to-date on its vaccines and had been leashed at the time of the bite, is under the state-required 2-week quarantine at the police animal shelter, because the bite occurred on public property (if it had happened at home, the dog would be able to undergo the quarantine there). The child suffered several puncture wounds, Kleinschmitt said.

Asked whether the dog had any history of biting, Kleinschmitt said no “but from what we understand, he had been abused.”

The dog’s prior owners had been two roommates, who each gave up the dog in succession to his current owner.

“He was abused for the first year of his life,” Kleinschmitt said. “We have a history of what had happened with that dog and it is very unfortunate when you see it, especially when they [the new owners] are working with it and getting it training. But that dog will not forget the first year of his life.”

The bite occurred behind the children’s play area at Mead, officials said.

18 thoughts on “16 Stitches for 2-Year-Old Boy Bit by Dog at Mead Park

  1. What on EARTH was a pit bull with a history of abuse doing at a playground??? I know people love their dogs, but have some common sense. They’re lucky I’m not the parent of that bitten child. That is a clear act of negligence.

    • Jackie I’m not sure how to answer your specific question, though I would note that this dog had no biting history and that my own observation is that dogs who have never been abused can be biters, and dogs who have been abused can be most docile and unthreatening. I also am not sure how relevant the dog’s breed is here. In covering New Canaan, I know that we’ve reported on all kinds of breeds mixed up in dog-on-dog or dog-on-human bites (for example: https://newcanaanite.com/yellow-lab-on-north-wilton-road-bites-the-mailman-15449), and we’ve had stories about pit bulls that are really quite positive, such as this one: https://newcanaanite.com/family-dog-alerts-new-canaan-man-to-black-bear-on-rear-porch-late-saturday-24661

      • Those are risks you may choose to willingly undertake for your family. When you bring that risk (combination of abuse history and a breed that is debatably more dangerous than others) to a public park where others cannot make their own educated decisions, it’s negligent. That child is now scarred for life, and I hope the owner understands the severity of that.

        • A very unfortunate incident, and more so than most dog-on-human bites because this child was so young, and as you rightly say, could be traumatized by it. As far as the dog’s owner goes, honestly I see nothing in what the police have told us that would suggest that person somehow doesn’t feel bad about what happened, though I also did not ask for that info from the Animal Control officer. What we know about this person is that they have taken on a dog that not only had been abused but seems to have been owned by two people previously that didn’t really seem to want it, and that the new owner also had started taking the animal to formal training. I should hope that after this bite, the dog wears a soft muzzle of some kind when it’s at a park like Mead. Thank you for your comments on the article.

    • Although I don’t find the breed of dog that significant it was NOT a pit bull. The article clearly states the dog as a Staffordshire terrier. To many times people read the words dog and bite in the same sentence and assume it’s a Pit bull. Any dog can bite abused or not so it’s in the best interest of everyone to educate our children not to pet strange dogs. I commend these owners for helping this dog and I don’t feel taking him to the park on a leash was the problem it’s allowing people to approach him is where the mistake was made. Just my opinion.

  2. A muzzle? What is this PC nonsense? The dog now has a history of biting children. It shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the playground at Mead park.

    • Regarding where this specific dog is allowed to go, Animal Control officers are authorized to place retraining orders on dogs and those restraining orders can be very specific about just where it’s allowed to go in public, how long its leash must be, wether or not it must be muzzled and even how close it can come to other people (see this article, for example: https://newcanaanite.com/yellow-lab-on-north-wilton-road-bites-the-mailman-15449). I didn’t ask about a restraining order in this case—it’s possible one has been issued. My strong sense is that an officer in making these determinations relies as much on the attitude and manner of the owner as anything else—for example, a combative personality who is defensive about his or her dog or even leaves the scene of a dog-on-human bite likely would warrant more consideration than someone who willingly surrenders his or her animal to a quarantine or otherwise has shown that they’re responsible as a dog owner.

      I’m not sure how muzzling an animal could be “PC,” as you say—from what I understand, muzzles are meant to be an effective extra measure that some dog owners take in order to protect others as well as their pets. In this case, for example, if the dog had been muzzled, then the child would not have been bitten.

  3. I am a dog owner and mother of a six year old. As an owner, I would never think my dog would be aggressive to anyone however I also do not bring her to parks were she could become overstimulated or agitated. As a mother, I would never let my child near a pit bull, sorry just wouldn’t. Sad story.

    • Agree with Ctmom 100%! Also, Mike i think you should recuse yourself from comments on this issue or at least provide the perspective that you are a dog owner.

      While maybe a stretch, isn’t this like a “supervisor” bringing a convicted (and served their time) pedophile to a playground with lots of children around? What was the person thinking, if anything — ok to try the dog out on little kids?

      I and my friends who jog, run and walk in Waveny and Briscoe Bird Sanctuary can’t count the many times we have come in contact with a loose dog, or one on a long leash … where the owner says “Fluffy is great with people so don’t worry” … and then the dog makes a lunge and jumps on you.


      And finally, with all due respect to Officer Kleinschmitt, who has done great things in NC relative to animal control, while the dog may be permanently traumatized, how about the child with 16 stitches … who will be scarred at least physically, if not emotionally, for life?

      • I’m a dog owner and a reader can click on my byline or the ‘Our Team’ section or scroll to the bottom of this page and learn that much, nothing to hide here. I’ll go further: I’m sure it’s why I cover the activity of our police department’s Animal Control Unit on this site as extensively as I do. That said, George, I try to be level and balanced in my reporting and comments on the site.

  4. This most unfortunate happening is a learning opportunity for everyone involved and for those who read this story. I appreciate the thoughtful responses from Mr. Dinan. The new owner is clearly a responsible person with a kind heart. No one could have predicted the abused dog would bite. The two former abusive owners….have charges been brought on them, with penalties, and their names listed at shelters so that they should never be allowed to adopt an animal?

    • Thank you, MK, for your comment. The answer is: I don’t know. But I will ask and circle back here. I am not sure that the two roommates who had given the dog away were the abusers, only that they were past owners. Let me follow up with Officer Kleinschmitt and whatever I find out, I’ll post in this thread.

  5. Unfortunate and sad – wishing the little one a speedy and full recovery. Let it serve as a reminder to pet owners and parents – take precautions without exceptions. As parents, we must teach our children how to properly pet animals. We also have to be mindful of allowing our children to pet animals unknown to them, as it only takes a split second and an excited little hand too close to a dogs face to put even the friendliest dog into protective mode, regardless of the breed. While I’m not a pet owner, I have taught my children how to properly pet an animal as it was a wonderful topic their preschool highlighted and served as an AHA moment for me in importance.
    Was this dog known to the children? Where was the parent or caregiver as the children were petting the dog? Has this dog ever been around children and has it been around multiple people? The dog’s history of course has potential to be a factor, but in my opinion can’t be proven as the dog has never reacted this way. There’s responsibility on both ends of this really scary and sad incident. My heart hurts for the little boy and family. Hoping he recovers well in body and emotion.

  6. Does this story and people’s responses point to a bigger picture?
    While I am not a dog owner now (due to severe family member allergies) I did grow up with dogs. I’m in my 40’s. When I was a kid there were 3 places to get a dog:
    2)Pet Store
    3)Humane Society and/or local Dog Pound.
    The first 2 were expensive.For most people # 3 was the “go to” place.
    There were always huge varieties of every kind of dog.
    We adopted mixed breeds and pure breeds. Something we never saw? Pit Bulls.
    Then came the big push to spay/neuter all pets. Responsible pet owners did so.
    Irresponsible owners did not. Now pair that with the rise of dog fighting, drug dealers & gangs.
    What is left? Shelters & pounds filled with endless Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terriers, and mutts that are mostly the same breeds.
    Yes, they are not all “bad” dogs. But are they all good?
    Well intentioned people adopt them without any knowledge of the breed(s).
    For instance, “Terriers” are in a class all by themselves. Why? Because of certain characteristics Terriers are bred for. Unlike the “Working Dog” breeds (Rottys, Shepherds, BMD’s) which are bred to obey commands, Terriers are bred to be:
    tenacious, unstoppable, independent, fierce, and have often been called the class of dogs that have “more courage than brains”. That encompasses ALL terriers.Not just Pits, but also Jack Russels, Rat Terriers (which are better rodent killers than cats are) Airdales, etc. The story of the Pit chasing the bear is a perfect example.
    This is basic dog breed knowledge that veterinarians know, but not may potential adopters.
    Does it mean Pits & Staffordshires cant be loving pets? No. But it does mean that terrier traits are in their dna and people need to what that means.

  7. Simple solution. Muzzle your dog. Many breeds can bite, of course. But the breed here, and similar, will do severe damage. It’s simply not worth the risk. Muzzles do zero harm. Owning these dogs takes real responsibility. I know.

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