FULL TEXT: Herbst letter to Jankovic-Mark on dog bite

Dear Mrs. Jankovic-Mark:

Yesterday I held my weekly staff meeting at which time I became aware of an incident this past weekend involving a Trumbull resident who was bitten by a shelter dog as he was walking on Church Hill Road. It is my understanding that you were walking this dog in your capacity as a volunteer for the Trumbull Animal Group. The person bitten by the dog was John [name deleted] of Trumbull.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to review the case incident report concerning this matter. I also reviewed the medical report from the treating physician, as well as the rules provided by the Trumbull Animal Group for those volunteering to walk shelter animals. In speaking to our Animal Control Officer, Lynn DellaBianca, I have been advised that in April 2012 all members of the Trumbull Animal Group were provided with a set of guidelines for volunteers who walk shelter dogs. I am enclosing a copy of those rules for your review, which you would have received this year as a member of the group.

There are three rules that volunteers are asked to follow. The rules require those volunteers walking shelter dogs to apply an abundance of caution in protecting the general public. Specifically the rules stipulate that the walker should always keep the dog close to them and secondly should always put themselves between the dog and the passing pedestrian.

In reviewing the case incident report, Mr. [name deleted] advised the responding officer that he gave a wide berth as he passed you and the dog to ensure that he would not come in close proximity to the shelter dog. After Mr. [name deleted] passed, the dog ran up behind him and bit his left calf breaking his skin. The police report further evidences that you confirmed Mr. [name deleted]'s interpretation of the circumstances in the case incident report.

Given Mr. [name deleted]'s narration of the events that transpired on Saturday, October 13, 2012 and your confirmation of the same, it is clear that you did not adhere to the guidelines promulgated by the Trumbull Animal Group.

I had the opportunity to personally contact Mr. [name deleted] yesterday to inquire as to his status and to ask him about the chain of events this past Saturday. Mr. [name deleted] indicated that after the bite occurred, you said you were sorry. However, Mr. [name deleted] also confirmed that you did not ask him if he needed medical assistance and you also made no offer to call for medical assistance once you saw that the bite had broken skin.

Irrespective of the fact that you did not follow the guidelines of the Trumbull Animal Group for walking a shelter dog, what I find more alarming is that a seventy nine year old elderly man was bitten by a dog being walked by you resulting in broken skin and bleeding. You did not even ask this constituent if he needed medical assistance or offer to call for medical assistance.

As an attorney I know that you are fully cognizant of the issues of liability, both to the Trumbull Animal Group and the Town of Trumbull. Besides that, Mr. [name deleted] is a constituent that you represent on the Trumbull Town Council. I would hope that every elected official in Trurnbull would offer to provide or seek medical assistance for a constituent that was clearly in need, especially when you were in part responsible for the injury sustained by the constituent.

By copy of this letter, I am asking Gail Marshall, President of the Trumbull Animal Group to take the necessary steps to ensure that all volunteers of the Trumbull Animal Group follow the guidelines that have been clearly established when walking shelter dogs to ensure that an incident like this does not happen again. I also hope in the future when you see somebody who is need of medical assistance you will do more than say that you are sorry and take proactive steps to ensure that the resident is safe and receiving the care that they may require.