“We need a cop, really, really quickly,” one said. “There is a pit bull attacking a bunch of people here.”
“Where?” the dispatcher asked.
“Oh God, I don’t know where I am at.”
The operator asked again. “Where on Harbor Street?”
“I don’t know,” the caller replied. There did not appear to be a street sign at the intersection.
The caller grew upset: “The dog is attacking a lot of people.”
A second caller put the attack at Harbor and McKinnel Court, the street where a 93-year-old woman has called her home for many years. He also said the dog was attacking many people. So far the police have identified only the woman as having been attacked. Her injuries are serious.
That was one of the calls that came in to 911 Sunday and led police on a horrifying call—to a 93-year-old woman who was mauled by a pit bull.
Click on the video to listen to the two 911 calls.
The woman had just started her walk on a fine spring day. She walked with the aid of a cane. All of sudden the dog raced across Harbor Street and onto McKinnel. The dog saw her, threw her over and began mauling her leg. So far the police have reported a very serious injury to her left leg. She may need further surgery.
Police Officer Joseph Harrington, who conducted the investigation, said that the animal ran from inside of the owner’s home and attacked the victim as she was walking. A number of neighbors came to the aid of the victim and began fighting off the animal using her cane and a baseball bat until the owner could subdue and cage the animal. The cage was provided by someone who witnessed the attack, police said.
By the time police arrived the dog had been captured and caged by its owner, Matthew Radulski, 49, of 136 Harbor St. (the home pictured in the video). According to sources, the dog was a rescue dog and was new to the family.
The dog was taken to the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter. Police would not allow shelter personnel to release any information about the dog, including his name and his age. He has been placed in quarantine pending the outcome of the investigation into the case.
Sgt. Richard Dahlin, who supervised the incident, said the victim sustained a massive amount trauma to her lower left leg. She was treated and transported by Fire Department paramedics to an area medical facility for serious injuries and later underwent surgery.
“We hope she recovers from this brutal attack,” Capt. Geoff Morgan said today. “These are very serious injuries.” Capt. Morgan could not be reached later Monday about the 911 calls reporting the dog attacked other people.
This is why this type of dog is banned from all New York City Public Housing Authority properties. Several states are also looking into requiring owners of these dogs to carry mandatory liability insurance and collar registration tags proving the insurance. Massachusetts and Rhode Island have also passed special insurance legislation requirements regarding these dogs in public housing and condo associations. These states are doing this because this type of dog is dangerous.
posted by: Marion on April 14, 2014 6:29pm
We have to face facts, and statistics. This is just a bad breed that should be banned, with no further breeding of them allowed. I’m sick of hearing pit owners defend them as misunderstood. They always say that and then they act all shocked and surprised when their pit viciously mauls or kills someone for no reason. They go after kids a lot too.
posted by: wendy1 on April 14, 2014 6:43pm
A pitbull is a lawsuit on a leash and this 49yo is gonna learn the hard way—-he’ll be in court forever with this poor woman’s family.
When I rescued our dog on Dixwell Ave, I took it right to the pound, the biggest in CT, which sent me away and told me that dog was MY responsibility OR ELSE. The officer said she already was overflowing with pitbulls. $6000 later I still care for this dog although there have been benefits for me and for Petco. Yearly shots and license are part of the deal and I use “dogparks” judiciously.
I carry insurance (homeowners)? too. It seems the pitbull is the town dog like the robin is the state bird. I see them everywhere…and why??? Because poor people breed them for $$ and/or sport, there not being many resources for either here.
posted by: Pamela Knapp on April 14, 2014 11:26pm
After reading this piece, I viewed television coverage of this very sad event. I believe the TV reporter referred to the dog as a “pit bull mix.” My heart is with the injured woman, the dog’s owners, and yes, with the dog too. The dog was a rescue; rescuing animals is something I personally support. However, I feel that all rescue groups should thoroughly test dogs in a variety of scenarios so adopters will be aware of any issues that must be addressed; actually, I feel the rescue groups should rehabilitate those dogs who require such a measure, prior to considering offering any puppy or dog for adoption.
I feel tremendous sorrow for the 93 year old woman who was viciously mauled, and I do pray that she recovers rapidly. My heart is with her.
The owners seem to be responsible people; they had a personal trainer on board. I imagine they must feel terrible about this tragic event.
Unfortunately, the dog probably endured a difficult life prior to adoption, a background that was troubled and disturbing, causing the dog to become vicious. I do know several purebred pit bulls and some pit bull mixes who are the friendliest, happiest dogs. All pit bulls are not inherently vicious. Yes, I know they have a remarkably powerful jaw structure that can inflict tremendous injury if they attack. But I do not believe in banning a breed in certain housing situations because the breed itself has been branded with such a bad reputation. That evolved out of cruel people using pit bulls for illegally fighting other dogs in pits, surrounded by people who wage bets on the fights. Pit bulls are the breed most utilized in such repulsive situations. Often, they later are left abandoned and taken into shelters. My husband was once mauled by a Golden Retriever! He was in shock, with wounds streaming blood from head to toe as he was raced to ER. I have read about German Shepherds who mauled to death babies in cribs.
Pray for the hospitalized woman, the dog owners & the dog, as well.
posted by: robn on April 15, 2014 7:29am
The CDC has explored this exhaustively and come to the conclusion that a dogs aggressiveness depends more upon its owner and training (or lack thereof) than its breed. Ill intentioned people work around breed bans and the dog bite data showing shifting trends proves it. The CDC is joined in this position by the ASPCA and the White House.
In this case I would also look carefully at the shelter that let the dog for adoption. Shelters should be properly stress testing dogs before giving them to the public and it sounds like this wasn’t done.
I feel badly for all involved. I think that the dog should be put down or sent to a farm enclosed by a fence. It is basically a wild animal probably due to its previous owner—and now it is no different than an lion or tiger. We should not treat it any differently. The breed should also be banned in Branford. When our sidewalks are not safe to walk on, things have to change!
posted by: Edward_H on April 15, 2014 3:15pm
Thank you for interjecting facts into this thread. The illogical emotional rants were getting tiresome.
posted by: Pamela Knapp on April 15, 2014 6:50pm
Robn and Edward - I went to the link provided by Robn and it did take me to the CDC, but the page had a statement noting that the information I was seeking has either been temporarily removed or permanently removed. I called the CDC and spoke with a woman who informed me that the CDC has never, nor will it ever, conduct research on canine breed behavior, aggressiveness, etc. The CDC’s focus is disease control for humans only. She informed me that, occasionally, the CDC web site may offer links to information provided by other groups, and recalled there was a link to a piece, as Robn described, on their site in 2012, submitted by another source with no relation to the CDC. Although the CDC lists links for such information, they post such info for public consumption for a short period of time before removing the link. Such pieces are not the result of exhaustive research by the CDC, and are not the products of any CDC analysis. The only involvement they have in the animal realm is to provide information about diseases that humans can contract from cats, dogs and a variety of other animals, including wildlife creatures. After reading Robn’s post to the woman, she stated that, since the CDC has never conducted the research as claimed, they have absolutely no involvement with the ASPCA or the White House on “findings” erroneously attributed to the CDC. Currently, there is an interesting link they shared, provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association: https://www.avma.org/public/Health/Documents/dogbite.pdf - “A community approach to dog bite prevention.”
posted by: robn on April 15, 2014 9:43pm
Preposterous. Either you or the person you spoke to is lying or misinformed. The CDC has mountains of information on anything related to human health ( including dog bite stats). Here’s the link:
robn: thanks for those links (I found they both led to the same article.) According to the article, regardless of the breed of dog that has caused “dog bite related fatalities” between 1997-98(although over half were pit bull type dogs and rottweilers), the point I found to be the most important was that less than 1% were caused by leashed animals off their owners’ property. So it would seem that strict leash laws and even fences (their recommendation) would be the best path forward. Also, they found that “male and sexually-intact dogs are more likely to bite than are female and neutered dogs.” ...something else to consider.
posted by: robn on April 16, 2014 2:32pm
You’re right. The author (a scientist at the CDC) took a staunch position against breed bans because they don’t solve the problem…that being owner stupidity and/or ignorance. We need laws that address owner/dog behavior, not breeds.
posted by: Edward_H on April 16, 2014 6:21pm
Again you beat me to the punch and posted the facts.
Funny thing about these stats, if Chihuahua’s had the same physical strength as one of these so called “bad breeds” there would be called for banning them as well.
posted by: Pamela Knapp on April 16, 2014 11:20pm
Robn, thank you for posting a link that does connect to the study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association that does appear on the CDC web site. I do see that many groups contributed to the study, and I also see the CDC’s connection. The woman with whom I spoke misinformed me because I certainly would never lie about anything. I am eager to read about this problem and seek solutions. I apologize for relaying misinformation conveyed to me when I called the CDC. I hope Edward and others will read the piece I found on their site and posted earlier - https://www.avma.org/public/Health/Documents/dogbite.pdf - “A community approach to dog bite prevention.”
That being said, I think we all have the best interests in mind in seeking information, from all reputable sources, to find a way to assure such a vicious attack never takes place ever again.
Town governments need to find solutions. I agree that any dog can bite under certain circumstances. But the incident on Harbor Street was an unprovoked attack. The owners really cannot be blamed for this because they just got the dog and they were working with a trainer. It is a pity the dog managed to escape the house.
I also agree that dogs really need to be evaluated prior to being placed with adopters. I think shelters work harder than a lot of rescue groups do to assure all dogs are well socialized and exhibit good temperaments. Many rescue groups rush dogs into foster homes to allow them more room to save more pets.
There is an expert animal behaviorist, John Gagnon, in Colchester, CT. He is able to rehabilitate dogs, even those with severe viciousness. He is like Cesar Millan in that he basically has a “boot camp” and works to help dogs that would otherwise be euthanized. I hope the dog who mauled the Branford woman will be able to undergo rehabilitation with John Gagnon. He is featured in a great documentary titled, “One Nation Under Dog.” I highly recommend everyone to watch it.
posted by: Edward_H on April 17, 2014 1:42pm
Thanks for the link I definaetly agree with the conclusion that “dog Bite” stats are flawed.