New Take on Existing Rule Bans Dogs Outright from Town Hall

A new interpretation of an existing local ordinance is raising hackles among some residents long accustomed to entering Town Hall with their canine pets in tow. In years past, during this the licensing season for dogs, the animals were allowed to enter the Town Clerk’s office with their owners when renewing a license or getting a new one. But with the reopening of Town Hall following a major renovation and addition, New Canaan is enforcing more strictly a rule that’s been on the books for 12 years—a disappointment to Town Clerk Claudia Weber. “It has been a time-honored tradition to come to the Town Clerk’s office every year with your dogs to get your dog license, and we give out biscuits,” Weber said. “When I first became Town Clerk [in 1998], I started something called the ‘Make Your Beagle Legal,’ and people would come in and I try to make that a mandated event, something that was fun and it gave government kind of a warm and friendly face.”

Yet section 6.8.D of the Town Code now is being strictly enforced, as several ‘No Dogs Allowed’ signs at 77 Main St.

New Canaan Kids Come Upon Sleeping Raccoon in Family Car, Think It’s a Coyote

New Canaan police on a recent morning prodded awake a raccoon that had climbed into a family’s SUV overnight, then ate a lot of junk food inside the vehicle and fell asleep on the driver’s side floor. The call came in as a report of a “coyote”—from the kids who came upon the slumbering animal as they climbed into the family car to get to school, according to a police report. Police responded to the call at about 9:06 a.m. on May 22 (a Thursday). “We found a raccoon there, and there was food everywhere, so obviously he had made himself right at home,” Animal Control Officer Maryann Kleinschmitt said. “He got into a soda bottle.

Boyfriend Gets Raccoon out of New Canaan House with Sweatshirt, Then Puts It Back On

The boyfriend of an Echo Hill Road resident re-donned his sweatshirt after using it to get a raccoon out of the house over Memorial Day weekend, so now he (the boyfriend) needs to talk to his doctor about a rabies vaccination, police say. It happened at 12:42 a.m. on Saturday, May 24, according to Animal Control Officer Maryann Kleinschmitt. The raccoon had wandered inside the house and was “trapped” there by a dog—a small, 3-year-old Labrador retriever mix—that ignored commands to leave the visitor alone, according to a police report. “The dog had the raccoon cornered, and an individual that was inside the house, a boyfriend, got it out by throwing his sweatshirt over the raccoon and taking it outside,” Kleinschmitt said. “Then he took the sweatshirt and put it back on, so if there’s saliva on it that we don’t know about, and the animal is sick, it could be a problem.

Park Street Cat under Home Quarantine after Biting Owner

A Park Street cat is under a 2-week home quarantine after biting its owner after the most recent rabies vaccination had expired, police say. It happened at about 11:42 on May 17, according to New Canaan Police Animal Control Officer Maryann Kleinschmitt. “With cats, their behavior is that you pet them and then you stop, and they’ll use their paws or their teeth to get your attention,” she said. “This was a nip but it caused an abrasion and someone who is elderly can get an infection, so the doctor put this woman on an antibiotic and the cat is being kept in her basement until May 30.”


At about 3:13 p.m. on May 16, a sick raccoon was reported to be idling in the front yard of a West Hills Road home. There, police saw the raccoon, determined that it was sick and put it down.

Cleo the Chihuaua: Sniffing New Canaan in Advance of Move to Town

Diana (pronounced DEE-anna) Demirjian is moving from North Stamford to New Canaan in two months. She was downtown on Pine Street this week—specifically, she said, to acclimate her 18-month-old Chihuahua, Cleo, to what soon will be her hometown. ‘Cleo’ is short for ‘Cleopatra,’ as Demirjian said: “We just wanted to give her a name that was as big as her personality, but that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with her body size.”

Sounded like a good candidate for “New Canine-ites,” so we probed further. Asked how much advance scouting in New Canaan she’s doing for Cleo, Demirjian said: “I’m walking around here right now because of her. Because I figure there’s a lot of smells and things to keep her attention occupied, and to make her feel social.”

Cleo’s vet is Dr. Paul Potenza at New Canaan Veterinary Hospital—where the staff knows a thing or two about caring for Chihuahuas—and the little dog eats Merrick wet food, Wingaling and Smothered Comfort, as well as dry food, Demirjian said.