Dangerous Animal Ordinance Passes

Markeshia Ricks PhotoTwo years after a New Haven woman was mauled to death by a dog on the Boulevard, the alder who witnessed it got to declare some triumph out of tragedy.

That happened Thursday night as his colleagues voted nearly unanimously to support an ordinance that he hopes will prevent such a tragedy from happening again in the Elm City.

Alders passed an ordinance aimed mostly at dangerous and vicious dogs, with one alder abstaining from the vote because of a number of changes suggested by the city’s Corporation Counsel that he felt he had not had enough time to review.

The vote took place at a full Board of Alders meeting at City Hall. Beaver Hills Alder Brian Wingate authored and shepherded the proposal through the approval process. Wingate pushed for strengthening the city’s animal control ordinance after witnessing the mauling of Jocelyn Winfrey, who lost her leg and eyes in the attack. Winfrey died because of the severity of her injuries.

The revised New Haven animal ordinance does the following:

• Gives the animal control division the authority to classify dogs as potentially dangerous, dangerous, or vicious and different levels of intervention and regulation is associated with each level.

• Requires owners or keepers of dogs to maintain control of their dogs at all times and not allow them to roam at-large.

• Clarifies that the ordinance does not apply to service dogs, and defines what a service dog is. But that it does apply to emotional or comfort support dogs.

• Requires that dogs have parvovirus vaccinations.

• Requires permits for breeders and litters.

Westville Alder Adam Marchand, who vice-chairs the Legislation Committee, said the ordinance was revised with the help of corporation counsel’s office is the culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of alders on his committee as well as the Public Safety Committee, chaired by Quinnipiac Meadows Alder Gerald Antunes.

Marchand said that the ordinance “empowers animal control officers to take actions to protect the public from vicious dogs and clarifies the responsibilities of dog owners.

“Taken together these changes would strengthen the protections of the public from dangerous animals,” he added.

Prospect Hill/Newhallville Alder Steve Winter wasn’t so sure, mostly because he’d only received the latest proposed draft from Corporation Counsel about 24 hours ago.

“I feel like I need more time to read the changes, particularly some of the new tiers of classification and how we treat animals that fall into those classifications,” he said.

He said he would like more time to look at new regulations like a provision in the ordinance that requires that a dog designated as potentially dangerous by an animal control officer be spayed and neutered within 42 days. He said he wanted more time to understand the impact of that and let his fellow alders know that he would abstain from the vote.

Wingate made a passionate plea for his colleagues to support the ordinance and finally move it forward.

“I just want to say that I’ve been working on this and it hasn’t been easy given what started this conversation—someone losing their life because of an irresponsible dog owner,” he said. “What we’re trying to do tonight is give some strength around the dog owners who are not being responsible.  A lot of time has went into this, corp counsel, my colleagues as alders. Everybody played a part in bringing this to the table.

“In life, sometimes tragedy has to turn into triumph,” he added. “Unfortunately, someone had to lose their life before we really got to this point. “

Wingate said even two years later he still has to hold back his emotions because of what he saw happen to Winfrey.

“if you saw what I saw you would know that something needs to be done for the residents of the city in reference to these vicious dog attacks,” he said.

Morris Cove Alder Sal DeCola, a retired letter carrier who has endured multiple dog attacks, said he knows all too well and that the legislation is long overdue.

“This is a good ordinance,” he said. “We’ve been working on it for two years and I feel very confident that this is something will benefit every resident.”

Though Downtown Alder Abigail Roth was supportive of the ordinance, she was also supportive of Winter’s point that alders and by extension the public should have an opportunity to see the ordinance in its final form and have a chance to comment before it is voted on by the full board.

Upper Westville Alder Daryl Brackeen Jr. argued that two years of deliberation were more than enough time. He said that the final recommendations from corporation counsel were a response to cleaning up the final form of the ordinance that came through the Legislation Committee, which also had a public hearing.

“So for any member of this board to claim that they did not have a chance to see, to go back into the record, to hear the voice recordings and review legislation, talk to the makers is a disservice to their whole board and their constituents,” he said. “This process has been wide open and properly vetted. And I think it is probably one of the better pieces of legislation that we’ve seen in the last 10 years.”

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posted by: wendy1 on November 9, 2018  9:49am

I have already rescued a pitbull on Dixwell from a Mandy property, fixed it, vaccinated it, leashed and trained it, etc.  After 6 years this dog has never bitten a human but works well as a guard dog scaring off intruders.  Other neighbors have dogs for safety as well as company.  The new law is fine and makes sense but like all laws here will be broken and is difficult to enforce.  All of the stuff I did for this dog cost a lot of money.  Our pound, the largest in CT, is already full and in need of cash.  You have to “buy” a rescue dog for $200 at the pound.  All I can say to Wingate is good luck with that. Nice try.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 9, 2018  10:32am

This Law is weak.Now this is what you need.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (c. 65) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was introduced in response to various incidents of serious injury or death resulting from attacks by aggressive and uncontrolled dogs, particularly on children.

The effect of the act
Under the 1991 act, introduced by MP Ken Baker (and as amended in 1997) it is illegal to own any Specially Controlled Dogs without specific exemption from a court.[5] The dogs have to be muzzled and kept on a lead in public, they must be registered and insured, neutered, tattooed and receive microchip implants. The Act also bans the breeding, sale and exchange of these dogs, even if they are on the Index of Exempted Dogs.[6]

Four types in particular were identified by the Act:

Pit Bull Terrier
Japanese Tosa
Dogo Argentino
Fila Brasileiro
The Act also covers cross-breeds of the above four types of dog. Dangerous dogs are classified by “type”, not by breed label. This means that whether a dog is prohibited under the Act will depend on a judgement about its physical characteristics, and whether they match the description of a prohibited “type”. This assessment of the physical characteristics is made by a court.

Trinidad and Tobago: Dangerous Dogs

Trinidad and Tobago: Dangerous Dogs Act Finally to Come into Force

Owners of dangerous dogs are required, within three months of the Act’s entry into force, to have the animal spayed or neutered and registered with the Ministry of Local Government. Owners must also obtain an annual $500 license for the dog from the Municipal Corporation in the place of residence; those who fail to do so face a penalty of a $50,000 fine and a one-year term of imprisonment

Part one.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 9, 2018  10:34am

Part two

Should a dangerous dog escape from the owner’s premises, the owner will be liable for any injury or damage it causes. To prevent an animal from escaping, owners must secure the premises “by a fence or wall of a suitable height and constructed and maintained so as to prevent the dog from escaping.” (Taitt, supra.) The owner must also properly display a notice that there is a dangerous dog on the premises. (Id.) In addition to banning the import, breeding, and sale of dangerous dogs, the Act prohibits persons under the age of 18 from owning them. Those who fail to comply with any of the Act’s provisions will be obliged to turn over their dogs to the Ministry of Local Government, which will then destroy the animals. (Id.)

Assessments of the Dangerous Dogs Act

The Attorney General’s press release is quoted as stating, in connection with the need to implement the Dangerous Dogs Act:

The Government has noted with great concern the recent and growing attacks on law-abiding citizens by pitbulls. The facts show that often these dangerous dogs are not properly trained or secured. In recent times, dangerous dogs have been allowed to escape onto the road and attack persons, causing severe injuries and, in some cases, death

posted by: publikskooled on November 9, 2018  12:21pm

how about a dangerous child law?  if you raise a golden retriever to fight and be agressive, guess what kind of dog it will be?
when a dog that has been bred and raised to be agressive is around crackheads, and being subjecct to crack, its gonna flip.  there is a periodical called the sporting dog journal, let the authorties have the power to investigate this and similar sources, let them infiltrate dog fighting rings, and take action, and have the animals spayed and neutered first.  we do it with rotten kids before we dispose of them, the animals deserve the chance to prove ability to be rehabilitated before they are put down.  and the perpetrators should be financially bled dry.
and dont let nancy pelosi take reigns again of the democratic wagon.
goodnight, god bless, thoughts and prayers, aloha

posted by: Ulmus Civitas on November 9, 2018  12:21pm

3/5 i concur. you don’t have problems in the UK with these types of dogs for good reason looking at their laws. likewise, you don’t hear of mass shootings in the UK, wonder why?

posted by: robn on November 9, 2018  12:57pm

This ordinance is discriminatory against the 40% of american households who own dogs. I’ll personally go to jail before I’d let my dog get seized for no good reason. The police should be policing bad behavior, not enforcing pre-crime.

Just wait for the fireworks when animal control or the police try to seize a perfectly behaved animal under the owners control just because its unleashed in an empty park.

This BOA is out of control and should be muzzled.

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on November 9, 2018  1:49pm


There is no excuse for allowing a dog off leash in a public park unless it is in a designated dog park.  Years ago my husband was walking our beagle, on leash, in Beaver Pond park and encountered an unleashed labrador retriever and its owner.  The lab perceived that our beagle was a submissive creature by nature and attacked without provocation, causing deep bite wounds and lacerations that required stitches and hospitalization for our poor little beagle, who had done nothing to invite this attack.  We were in compliance with the leash laws, and the lab’s owner was not.

Owners of uncontrolled dogs tend to be unreasonable and defensive.  When we tracked down the owner, he chewed out my husband for not picking up the beagle as his dog advanced on her.  Never mind that his dog was off leash in a public park and did NOT respond to his calling her off, or that picking up your dog as it is attacked by a larger dog should not have to be a reflexive action, and may lead to severe injury of the owner as well.

When we showed him the photographs of our dog’s injuries, he did pay the vet bill, which was almost $1000.

posted by: wendy1 on November 9, 2018  5:22pm

By the way, the pitbull has become the de facto city mascot.  There is one on every block.  A Yale professor (former) even wrote a book about them years ago defending them (Adam’s Task).  The pound is full of them.  I dont condemn or condone them; they just exist everywhere.

posted by: jim1 on November 9, 2018  5:46pm


posted by: 1644 on November 9, 2018  7:04pm

The UK has fewer shootings because its dogs are better behaved, unlike ours:

Dangerous dogs aren’t just a city problem:

In Branford, the Animal Shelter set a lethal dog loose in the community:

posted by: jim1 on November 9, 2018  8:30pm

All dog breeds show 99% wolf DNA.  Read The Inside of a Dog on sale at Atticus in paperback.  My friend got 30 stitches in her face from a doxie.  All dogs can be unpredictable but not as unpredictable as humans.

posted by: robn on November 9, 2018  9:59pm


The “Excuse” is that dog owners pay taxes and are entitled to full use of public assets. The owner of the dog that attacked yours wasn’t a good one (without control of their animal, leash or not) and that’s the bad behavior that should be policed.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 9, 2018  11:25pm

Opinion: There is no need for pit bulls
By Dr. David A. Billmire

As one who, for the last 30 years, has been on the receiving end of the dog-bite injuries that pass through the Children’s Hospital Emergency Room, as well as on the staff at the Shriners Hospitals for Children where we see the late effects of these injuries from across the nation, I can categorically tell you that the problems associated with dog bites are indeed breed-specific.When I started my career, the most common dog-bite injuries were from German shepherds and occasionally retrievers. These injuries were almost always provoked, such as food-related or stepping on the dog, and in almost every instance, the dog reacted with a single snap and release – essentially a warning shot. There were no pack attacks.Starting about 25 years ago, my colleagues and I started to see disturbingly different types of injuries. Instead of a warning bite, we saw wounds where the flesh was torn from the victim. There were multiple bite wounds covering many different anatomical sites. The attacks were generally unprovoked, persistent and often involved more than one dog. In every instance the dog involved was a pit bull or a pit bull mix.Based on my extensive experience, I believe that the risk posed by pit bulls is equivalent to placing a loaded gun with the safety off on the coffee table. In my opinion, these dogs should be banned. I know this is an unpopular stand in some circles, but how many mauled children do we have to see before we realize the folly of allowing these dogs to exist?The arguments made by advocates of these dogs are the same arguments made by people who feel that assault weapons are an essential part of daily living. There are plenty of breeds available that peacefully coexist with human society. There is no need for pit bulls.

part One.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 9, 2018  11:28pm

Part Two.

Pit bull bites are worse by several measures.

SAN DIEGO – Pit bulls caused 42% of dog bites for which children were hospitalized, a 4-year retrospective study showed.

Bites by pit bulls had a 40% greater odds of a full trauma team response, and were linked to a 3-day longer mean hospital stay, compared with bites by other dogs [4.2 days (standard deviation, 5.1) vs. 1.3 days (SD, 1.3); P = .02], reported lead author Dr. Claudia Yeung of Arizona Children’s Center and Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix.“It’s the young children who are most affected, and the dog is often in the home,” Dr. Yeung added. Adults need to be informed about the risks that pit bulls and other large dog breeds may pose to young children, even if the dog is a pet with no known history of aggression, Dr. Yeung said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics.


So take your chances.Not me.

posted by: robn on November 10, 2018  7:33am

Last year in the US there were @30 fatal dog attacks and about 18,000 fatal human attacks. We should be paying more attention to human behavior.

Keep in mind that in the specific case of the the Mew Haven mauling, the victims were known crack users and it’s quite likely the dogs were not only mistreated (left unattended outdoors for long durations) but they could have been exposed to this highly addictive drug via second hand smoke.

This BOA is trying to pretend it’s doing something important to hide that they’ve led our city to the brink of bankruptcy.

posted by: dad101 on November 10, 2018  1:20pm

ok so I have had dogs of various breeds through out my life time Pitts, mastif ,pug, full mutt, chow, cocker spaniel,shitzu,poodle,beagle and guess who did the most property damage..the cocker, guess who did the most physical damage ...the freaking poodle! my pitts and mastif were the most loving compassionate animals ever and many were both raised and acquired while having an infant child in their presences. Reality like human beings how you are raised determines to a large degree how aggressive you willbe towards other humans. Children who are raised by parents who are aggressive,abrasive and abusive more often than not display similar characteristics. Well if an animal is raised a certain way it too will reflect how it was raised. Not because of its ethnicity nor because of his coat(aka skin) but because of how it was encouraged and allowed to behave. The owners and victims more often are the reason animals act out. Why do people let theri children pet stray or unfamiliar animals, why do people think its ok to get in the personal space of an unknown animal..oh humans dont act defensive when such things happen right? I would rather have 2 pitts 2 rottweilers two dobermans 2 of any dog than a gun in my home and in this day and age you need something to protect not only your family but your possessions so I will keep owning dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by: publikskooled on November 10, 2018  5:48pm

threefifths, are you, by way of sharing your article about elimnating pitbulls, saying that certain breeds of mammals should be eliminated?  would your thinking apply to
“troublesome” races of human beings, or in that case you’d say its only because its the way they’ve been raised and exploited?
i’m curious to hear YOUR own words to explain this.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 11, 2018  6:19pm

posted by: publikskooled on November 10, 2018 4:48pm

threefifths, are you, by way of sharing your article about elimnating pitbulls, saying that certain breeds of mammals should be eliminated?  would your thinking apply to
“troublesome” races of human beings, or in that case you’d say its only because its the way they’ve been raised and exploited?
i’m curious to hear YOUR own words to explain this.

Show me where I said certain breeds of mammals should be eliminated?  I said

This Law is weak.Now this is what you need.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (c. 65) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that was introduced in response to various incidents of serious injury or death resulting from attacks by aggressive and uncontrolled dogs, particularly on children.

And I said the same thing in posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 4, 2017 8:44pm

I will say it again. These type of dogs must be ban. We must pass laws like this.

Dangerous Dogs Act is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom

Notice I said these type of dogs.

I also said this.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 5, 2017 9:21pm

My neighbor was bite by a pit bull trying to protect her Yorkshire Terrier about two years ago.The pit bull killed her dog.She has another Yorkshire Terrier. I was talking to her and she told me she is ready this time. She open her bag and show me her pistol permit . She carry a GLOCK 27.40, Sub Compact. She told me if this happens again, She will empty her clip.

And when she walks her dog she has her Glock.

Like Is said what you need is The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Part One.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 11, 2018  6:25pm

Part Two.

@  publikskooled

Here are the countries that ban pit Bulls

Trinidad and Tobago thus was resolute: we would join the league of sensible and progressive nations which for the protection of their citizens had banned dangerous breeds of dogs.


Individual Island Breed Restrictions

Antigua and Barbuda:

Dogs of the “pitbull” breed or mixes of this breed are not allowed to land on Antigua and Barbuda.


Already Banned in a Dozen Countries

In 1991, Singapore prohibited the entry of pit bulls into the country.
**In 1993, the Netherlands banned pit bulls.
**In 1997, Poland enacted legislation enforcing pit bull owners to display “clear warning signs” and keep the animal behind reinforced fencing.
**In 2000, France banned pit bulls. The goal was to let the breed “die out.”
**In 2001, Germany banned pit bulls

I bet you if you go to a lawyer who handle Dog Bite cases.I bet you the major of the Dog bites are from pit bulls

posted by: AverageTaxpayer on November 12, 2018  10:17am

The issue with pit bulls and other “bully” breeds is that when they snap or go off, they do incredible, sometimes deadly damage.

The breed was designed to be a fighting killer. Not a herder, ratter, retriever, companion, tracker, pointer, etc, or even a guard dog.

This is the issue, and all of the fighting breeds are a menace to society, and a particular danger to children and the elderly.

I’m with three-fifths. The fighting breeds should be banned from our cities.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on November 12, 2018  12:02pm

How many of you remember The Diane Whipple Case?

In January 2001, two dogs killed Diane Whipple of San Francisco as she tried to enter her apartment. The dogs involved were two Presa Canarios


This is the dog that killed her.In fact it was two of them.