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Dog attack on elderly woman inspires tougher ordinance

More than six months after an 89-year-old woman was nearly killed when a pair of dogs mauled her in her front yard, the Waterbury Board of Alderman has tightened the city's ordinance regarding dog safety. From now on, an animal that is labeled a "nuisance dog" must be kept in a more secure yard and walked with a harness and leash. The idea is to reduce the chances of a similar dog bite incident happening in the future.

The woman was in her yard when a pair of pit bulls attacked her earlier this year. She had to have surgery on her foot in September and only recently started walking again. She also suffered a bite wound on her arm. Fortunately, the woman said she is doing much better now.

Soon after the attack, one alderman began working on a proposed amendment to Waterbury's dog ordinances. The new ordinance, which passed unanimously on Oct. 9, will have dogs evaluated to see if they present a danger to others after someone makes a registered complaint. If the dog is labeled a "nuisance," its owner must have a chain link fence at least six feet high surrounding his or her yard and a secure enclosure for the dog. When walking the dog, the owner must use a leash with a harness. If the owner fails to do so, the city could fine him or her $250 for a first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense.

The ordinance does not target any particular dog breed, the alderman said.

Source: WTNH-TV, "City makes changes to 'nuisance dog' laws," Erin Logan, Oct. 10, 2012

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