Monday, February 22, 2016
RED HOOK, DUTCHESS COUNTY NY - ONE OF TWO DOGS SENTENCED TO DEATH AFTER ATTACKING A JOGGER WAS INVOLVED IN A PREVIOUS ATTACK AND WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE IN RED HOOK
RED HOOK - One of the two dogs sentenced to death after attacking a jogger was involved in a previous attack and wasn't supposed to be in Red Hook, the Poughkeepsie Journal has learned through public records.
Gemma and Tank, the two Cane Corsos owned by Red Hook resident Jessica South attacked a woman jogging on a public highway on Dec. 30. They were ordered to be euthanized by Red Hook Judge Jonah Triebwasser on Jan. 27. State law requires humane euthanasia or permanent confinement if an unprovoked dog attacks a person causing injury or death.
One of those dogs, Gemma, had been involved in a previous violent attack, biting and injuring a local dog, according to a dog control complaint form the Journal obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request.
According to the Town of Red Hook dog control complaint, South's four dogs were being looked after by a dog sitter while South was at work on April 22, 2015. Two of the dogs, Gemma and Blue, ran out the home and attacked an English Pointer being walked by its owner, who later filed the complaint. The dog suffered three puncture wounds from bites, one of which was to the dog's upper thigh muscle, according to a Red Hook Veterinary Hospital report provided by the FOIA request.
At the time of that attack, the four of the dogs living in South’s home were not licensed. South was given a notice to license three of the dogs — Blue, Diva and Tank. Gemma was “to leave on April 25” due to South having “too many dogs for the town ordinance,” according to the complaint.
A follow-up by the dog control office showed that South had licensed all three dogs and Gemma was no longer living in the home on April 26.
But according to Red Hook Town Clerk Sue McMann, information from the dog control office indicates South licensed Gemma at her mother’s house in Greene County. However the dog would often “stay with her while her mother was at work,” according to McMann — a fact that the town discovered after the Dec. 30 attack. South did not return calls for comment.
In the case of the jogger, Judge Triebwassar ordered South to pay a $1,500 penalty, less whatever is to be paid to the victim as restitution for unreimbursed medical expenses, lost earnings and other damages.
“It’s an example of tort liability — it’s negligence claim,” said Michael R. Varble, Esq. of Michael R. Varble and Associates, P.C., who did not represent South in the case.
Based off of the previous incident that had occurred, South “knew or should have known the dog had vicious" propensities, he said.
But South having Gemma on her property in Red Hook that day, despite having the dog licensed in another county, is strictly a legal issue with the town.
“There are two separate issues,” Varble said. “One of negligence, and the other is law enforcement. The dog control officer could presumably fine her for not complying to the town’s zoning laws.”
Judge Triebwassar placed an automatic 30-day stay on his decision delivered Jan. 27 to allow South to appeal the order.