Owner in alleged service dog attack slapped with $92 fine
Published 8:15 pm, Wednesday, April 3, 2013
The owner of a dog that allegedly attacked a Greenwich woman's service animal in Darien a week ago was given a $92 ticket.
Darien police said they issued the infraction citation to Kathy Kaiden, 43, of 100 Leroy Ave., Darien, for allowing a dog to roam on March 25.
Greenwich resident Amy Dixon, who lost most of her vision because of an autoimmune disease, was walking with her guide dog, Elvis, to the train station in Darien that afternoon when she said Kaiden's dog, which was not on a leash, yanked Elvis to the ground.
Kaiden indicated that while walking her two dogs on leashes, one slipped from its collar and got loose, according to the police report.
Attorney Mark Sherman, who is representing Kaiden, responded to a request for comment Monday, saying Kaiden and her husband are "responsible dog owners" and that they are challenging the citation.
"The dog was on a leash and it did not attack Ms. Dixon," Sherman said. "It was on a leash for most, if not all, of the time during the incident."
Sherman did not comment further on why Kaiden was challenging the $92 fine.
"We'll continue to review the police reports and take the appropriate steps in court," Sherman said.
Dixon said she sprained her ankle while trying to protect her guide dog, and that Elvis, who was not injured, is going to have to be retrained. She said the $92 fine is insufficient.
"It's less than a speeding ticket," said Dixon, 37. "It's a big deal. It's not like car where you take it to the body shop for repairs."
Dixon -- who works in the restaurant industry and calls herself the "Blind Sommelier" -- said she is considering suing Kaiden to recoup the costs related to her ankle injury and the retraining of her dog, which she got four years ago from Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a nonprofit in Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Under state law, dog owners are required to keep their pets on leashes while on public property. Dixon said she is looking into whether the violation should be considered a misdemeanor. The law indicates a dog owner could be charged with a misdemeanor if her or she had violated the leash law over the past year and the dog physically injures another person.
The state dog control law also has a special section on guide dogs, noting that if a dog owner lets his or her animal go off-leash, and the animal attacks and injures a guide dog, the owner can be liable for any injury done to the guide dog, and for any costs for veterinary care, rehabilitation or replacement of the dog.
Dixon said Elvis was not injured in the attack, though said her groomer recently noticed a cut behind the dog's ear.
Police indicated it was too late for her to report that, she said.
email@example.com; 203-625-4439; http://twitter.com/lchamoff