This section is dedicated to all things concerning our New Canaan animals—pets, wildlife, environmental and health matters touching the animals of our town, activity out of the New Canaan Police Department Animal Control Unit, and more.
Police on Thursday evening charged a 55-year-old Danbury man with cruelty to animals after he left a dog in a hot car at the train station. At about 4:40 p.m., officers were dispatched to the Lumberyard lot on a report of a dog inside a parked vehicle, police said.
Responding officers saw an unoccupied car, not running, with its windows all up and the interior windows fogged over, with a dog inside, its tongue sticking out and breathing heavily, according to a police report. The officers opened the door to get the dog out, and the animal “was displaying signs of distress,” the report said. Police transported the animal to Norwalk Emergency Veterinary Care Center for evaluation and treatment of dehydration. An onlooker told NewCanaanite.com that the dog was a Weimaraner and that after exiting the vehicle the animal immediately relieved himself, at length.
[Editor’s Note: As indicated in our captions on the bear photos, we heard from a 12-year-old New Canaan resident who asked us to name the animal ‘George.’ In an email sent Monday, Leo Mikkola-Patel wrote, in part, “I am a twelve year old writing from quarantine and I think that in these crazy times people would appreciate some humor in their lives.” Asked how he chose the name ‘George,’ Leo said it’s his friend’s name.]
Animal Control officials are urging residents to be aware of wildlife following the sighting Sunday morning of a black bear in New Canaan.
The sighting on Woodridge Circle, the first of the year as spring gets underway in earnest, coincides with a rise in coyote, fox and snapping turtle activity, according to Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department Animal Control section.
New Canaan has seen black bear activity each spring for the past several years. The bear likely was a young male looking for new territory, Halm said. “We know bears love birdseed, so we encourage people, especially this time of year, to bring the birdseed in or have a pulley system to pull it up high,” Halm told NewCanaanite.com.
For today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we talk to town resident Dr. Paul Potenza of New Canaan Veterinary Hospital. Established 70 years ago, the Vitti Street veterinary practice is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Here’s our interview. New Canaanite: Tell me about how you’re operating now. Dr. Paul Potenza: We cut ourselves back to essential services only, which is only the veterinary and the medical-surgical side of it. So we shut down the kennel.
An attorney representing a local woman named in a lawsuit that stems from a dog attack last fall on Benedict Hill Road has filed papers denying that she’s liable for the incident.
The owner of one of two dogs that attacked the plaintiff also was not negligent in the Sept. 15 incident, according to an answer and special defense filed Friday on her behalf by attorney Jill Hallihan of New Haven-based Musco & Iassogna.
Rather, Hallihan said in documents filed in state Superior Court, the plaintiff herself failed “to make reasonable and proper use of her faculties and senses at the time and place of the incident alleged in the complaint.”
The plaintiff, Allyn Holmberg, also “failed to exercise reasonable care for her safety at the time and place of the incident alleged in the complaint” and “failed to act as a reasonably prudent would have under the same or similar circumstances,” Hallihan said on behalf of the defendant, Luz Berg. Hallihan on the same day filed a claim for jury. According to Holmberg’s complaint, the two dogs—Sarge and Bane—attacked her “suddenly and without warning” on that Sunday last fall “while roaming and unleashed.”
The dogs, in the care of next-door neighbor Paul Saitta “attacked without provocation and began to ferociously attack, bite, maul, savage and mutilate the plaintiff, causing severe and permanent injuries,” according to the lawsuit, filed in state Superior Court by attorney Jason Gladstone of New Canaan-based Lampert, Toohey & Rucci LLC. As a direct result of the attack, Holmberg sustained several injuries and has incurred medical bills, pain and suffering, “mental anguish, mental anxiety and emotional distress” and “has suffered permanent impairment of her ability to carry on life’s activities which she had enjoyed before the attack,” the lawsuit said.
New Canaan Police last month assessed more than $400 in fines to a local woman who has been cited repeatedly for allowing her dogs to roam off-leash on public property. The most recent incident occurred on Feb. 8 (a Saturday) at the New Canaan High School track, according to an incident report obtained by NewCanaanite.com through a public records request. Officer Allyson Halm, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s Animal Control section, said in the report that a woman reported the incident to authorities in a voicemail received the following Monday, and that she recognized the dogs as belonging to town resident Amanda Coulon. Coulon “has been issued infractions four times for violating the Town Ordinance in parks throughout town,” Halm said in the report.