A Canine Fairy Tale In Fair Haven

Allan Appel PhotoA sweet young hound trapped in an abandoned house wailed for help. City workers swung to the rescue Thursday—and one of them ended up adopting the pooch.

The canine fairy tale unfolded at Fillmore and Pine streets in Fair Haven.

It occurred at 193 Pine, a boarded-up house that has been abandoned, and on the radar of New Haven Livable City Initiative (LCI).

What LCI didn’t know: that a dog had wandered in to the house or had been kept there by squatters.

They learned that Thursday morning.

Neighbors alerted them.

The neighbors heard the dog wailing. One neighbor walked to the Lombard Street firehouse. Firefighters converged on the house.

The fire department arrived, broke down the door, and found a famished animal. They called in Laurie Lopez, LCI’s Fair Haven worker, who makes a practice of watching over and, when necessary, breaking back into boarded-up houses.

After calling Lopez, the firefighters went shopping and came back with dog food and chicken. They placed a large bowl of food in a makeshift foil tray.

“She was eating like it was her job,” the firefighters later reported.

By the time Lopez arrived at 11:45, the dog was no longer eating but relating to humans. The dog was not starved, but it was plenty scrawny.

She called called in Kevin Kluth, the supervisor of property management for LCI. Lopez knew that Kluth had recently lost a dog of his own, the companion of his pit bull Daisy.

“You want to come on over,” Lopez told him. “You might want to see this dog.”

The dog, a sweet-natured mixture of breeds that Lopez called “hound,” was friendly and on a leash by the time the Independent arrived on the scene.

Kluth stood with her. A relationship was forming.

Lopez said she doesn’t know how long the dog had been in the house, but surmised from the evidence that it had been quite a while. “If you were to walk through here and see the dog feces and urine ... ” she said.

Kluth (who declined to be photographed) decided on the spot to adopt the hound. He was taken by her sweet nature.

He feared that if “she goes to the shelter,” her new owner might use her as “meat” to train pit bulls to be nasty.

“She’s just too docile” to survive on her own, said Kluth, who has been an LCI staffer since 1996.

Lopez said that rescuing a dog is not unusual. In Fair Haven alone at least a couple of dozen such calls occur every year. (Click on the play arrow to watch her enter 193 Pine Thursday; click here to watch and read about another house she has kept on top of in Fair Haven.)

On the other hand, a staffer adopting a dog doesn’t happen every day.

“Kev, she needs some chew toys in her life,” Lopez advised.

First a bath, Kluth said.

And a name?

Kluth plans to let his grandchildren, who named his current pit bull Daisy, do the honors again.

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posted by: Paul Wessel on October 11, 2012  2:13pm

Go, Laurie and Kevin!

posted by: cedarhillresident! on October 11, 2012  3:13pm

Kevin you totally rock!!

posted by: RCguy on October 11, 2012  8:17pm

Hypothetical Situation:

While living in the abandoned Pine Street house,
this dog, starving and cold, mauls a tiny baby to death.

The dog is then shot and killed by police.

At which point, the media reports the headline:

“Pitbull mauls baby girl to death”

Then come cries of disgust toward pitbulls and their owners, along with a push for “breed specific legislation” geared toward banning pitbulls.

But this dog is not even a pitbull. It is just a starving and cold dog living in a dump.

posted by: Edward_H on October 12, 2012  2:48am

“He feared that if “she goes to the shelter,” her new owner might use her as “meat” to train pit bulls to be nasty.”

Do you really think the people at the New Haven Animal shelter are so ignorant?

Did they check to see if the pooch was microchipped?

Do city workers always just show up at take what they want at these types of scenes?

posted by: almp22 on October 12, 2012  9:24am

That’s no hound - that’s a “pit-bull type-dog” - and a very cute one at, that with a great smile!

Also, as Edward_H mentioned, the staff at the New Haven Animal Shelter are very strict in their adoption policies - they do a great job of screening applicants and are extremely particular in who they allow to adopt dogs.