UPDATE: July 26, 2017: There is finally some positive news on the incident involving a tangle between a German Shepherd and a Shih Tzu in Pomerance last Sunday.
The Shih Tzu lost an eye in the incident and his owners incurred about $5,000 in emergency veterinary care bills.
The Jennings report that they have finally connected with the owner of the shepherd.
“We are now in communication with her, which is very pleasant and are working things out,” said Shanna Jennings in an email on Wednesday.
The Jennings said they regretted letting their dog off his leash, even though it was a corner of Pomerance they considered relatively secluded.
The Jennings said the owner of the Shepherd was not present when her dog first came into the Jennings’ presence, and that about a minute later she caught up with her dog and the Jennings, who were with their one year old baby, and their other dog, a Golden Doodle, in addition to their Shih Tzu, Hudson. It was then that the incident happened.
“We would like to thank this wonderful community for all of their support and compassion in during this emotional time,” Jennings wrote.
Mrs. Jennings said she was contacted by the owner of the German Shepherd.
“My husband and I were unaware that she had previously reached out to the Greenwich Police and had made several unsuccessful attempts to contact us,” Jennings said.
“As a fellow animal lover, we could see that she was heartbroken over Hudson’s injuries and she has graciously offered to contribute to his medical expenses,” Jennings continued. “We would like to clarify that the dog’s owner was present during the incident, and both dogs were off-leash when this occurred – hopefully the lesson we can all learn is the risks that we take when we allow our dogs to socialize off-leash, regardless of how well behaved we know our dogs to be.”
Update July 24: At the July 24 Police briefing, Lt David Nemecek said that in the case of the dog fight at Pomerance that left at 15 lb Shih Tzu without an eye, Animal Control completed their investigation and issued both the owner of the Shih Tzu and German Shepherd warning tickets, which carry no fee.
Lt Nemecek said neither dog was leashed at the time, which is the law, and there were no witnesses other than the parties involved, so it was not possible to place blame on either dog.
“Both owners said the other dog was the aggressor,” Nemecek said. “There is no independent way to verify who was the aggressor and unfortunately the bigger dog won.”
Nemecek said the the owners of the Shih Tzu have the option of taking civil action.
The law that requires quarantine of a dog that bites applies when a person is bitten.**
Original Story July 20: The terrifying incident took place in Pomerance on Sunday morning.
Shanna and Christopher Jennings, their one-year-old baby girl, and their two dogs – a Shih Tzu and a Golden Doodle – were enjoying a walk in the park.
They headed to a favorite spot, at the foot of the former Wyndygoul mansion where stone steps lead to a level yard and steps to the pond, where they briefly let their Shih Tzu off leash. It would be a decision they regretted.
In the short span of a minute, a German Shepherd appeared. The dog was off leash and there was no owner insight.
After a pause, the Shepherd went for the Shih Tzu, Hudson.
“The Shepherd started running at us and Hudson started barking at him,” Shanna said. “That’s what dogs do. I think he was protecting the baby.”
“Hudson took several bites to the head, and the last one was the one that dislodged his eye,” Shanna said on the phone on Thursday.
After a minute that felt like an eternity, the German Shepherd, who Shanna estimated to be about 100 lbs, released Hudson. That was when she could see the damage. “His eye was hanging out and there was blood everywhere,” she said.
Around that time, the dog’s owner appeared. “She kept yelling at me to stop crying. I was hysterical. I was shaking,” Shanna recalled.
Neither Shanna nor Christopher had their phones with them, and so the ten minute walk from the park with her husband carrying the severely injured dog was torture.
Their vet was closed because it was Sunday so they rushed to Cornell University Veterinary Specialists, who Shanna credits with saving Hudson’s life.
“The vet said we were lucky and that most of the time the little dog dies in a situation like this,” Shanna said.
Shanna said that she and her husband received a phone call this week from a man who claimed to be the husband of the Shepherd’s owner.
“The caller said he was calling out of concern for our dog, but he was calling from a blocked number,” Shanna said. “When my husband said we wanted at least for her to apologize and help with the vet bills, he said, ‘Oh, I don’t know. I’ll call you back.’ My husband asked his name, but he hung up.”
“People sent photos of the woman and the dog, so we know who she is,” Shanna said. “She lives in Old Greenwich.”
“I have a photo of her and of the dog,” Shanna said. “People keep telling me she is a nice person, so I am hoping she does the right thing so that we don’t have to take legal action.”
Shanna said her vet bill is about $5,000.
Shanna said the German Shepherd needs to be quarantined, and on a leash at all times. “I want people to know this dog is dangerous. It could hurt a human. I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” she said.
The Jennings have been in contact with Greenwich Animal Control.
Lt David Nemecek of Greenwich Police dept, called Animal Control Officer Stacy Rameor up at the North Street facility during the regular Thursday press briefing to inquire about the incident.
Officer Rameor said she’d been playing phone tag with the owner, but was aware of the serious nature of the injuries. She said the incident was under investigation and agreed to follow up with Lt. Nemecek.
This story will be updated when more information becomes available.
**The law requires an Animal Control Officer (ACO) to quarantine a dog that has bitten someone off its owner’s property.
The dog must be quarantined for 14 days in a public pound, veterinary hospital, or place approved by the Dept of Agriculture commissioner.
The purpose of the quarantine is to assure the animal does not have rabies and to examine the dog’s demeanor.
The owner must pay all fees associated with quarantining the animal. The ACO may quarantine the dog on the premises if it has bitten someone on its owner’s property.
The ACO must give the person the dog bit and the commissioner notice of the quarantine within 24 hours. The commissioner or his designee must examine the dog on the 14th day of the quarantine to determine whether it should continue (CGS § 22-358 (c)).
Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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