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Dog gets restraining order after Waveny Park attack

A restraining order was issued on a Darien dog after he attacked a New Canaan woman at Waveny Park the morning of June 25, according to Animal Control Officer Maryann Kleinschmitt.

The restraining order requires the dog's owners to muzzle him whenever he's off their property for the rest of his life.

The German shepherd was walking with his owner, Julie McLaughlin, of Darien, on one of the park trails at about 9:50 a.m. when he turned around and bit a woman who had just passed him, Kleinschmitt said.

The dog, Franz, was on a leash, as is required in any public areas in New Canaan. McLaughlin was issued a $75 fine for the attack.

Franz tore the skin on the back of the woman's left arm, according to Kleinschmitt, who was at the scene within 15 minutes.

"To have that kind of bruising come up with the tears on both the upper and lower arm, it was pretty extensive," the officer said.

Kleinschmitt said the restraining order is the minimum she could impose because of the type of bite.

"If they're taking it for a walk in Stamford, in Darien, in Fairfield, in Westport, anywhere, the dog must be muzzled, be on a leash no longer than six feet and it must be kept at least 10 feet from any human being," Kleinschmitt said.

The victim was treated by the emergency medical technicians, but she refused to go the hospital, according to the report. Kleinschmitt said the woman, who already was on antibiotics for a different reason, later visited a doctor and is recovering well.

Kleinschmitt said McLaughlin indicated she would appeal the restraining order with the state Department of Agriculture's Animal Control Division, which is responsible for the investigation of property damage, injury and nuisance caused by dogs.

The last time the officer issued a restraining order on a dog was about four to five years ago, when two New Canaan canines left their owner's property, went into another home and attacked other dogs.

"I don't do it very often," Kleinschmitt said. "I do it when I believe I have a very serious problem with the dog. And in this case, it was unprovoked and someone was just walking by. ... It's not like the woman reached out to touch the dog. She just walked by and the dog grabbed her from behind. There is an issue there. I have a concern that if I didn't do a restraining order, it would happen again."

The officer noted that dog, who is almost 2 years old, weighs almost 90 pounds and could "injure someone severely."

"In this case she was hurt badly, but fortunately it will heal," Kleinschmitt said. Read Full Article 

The officer said, however, that the victim will have scars on her arm because the "bruises were significant."

Kleinschmitt said this is the first time there's been a reported incident with this German shepherd.

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson

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