Brookfield resident Margaret Carcaldi was at work on Monday, March 19, when she received a frantic phone call from her daughter: while walking the family dog, six-year-old Benji, a neighbor’s rottweiler had broken loose and attacked, killing the 14-pound Bichon Frise.
Carcaldi’s two children—daughter age 14 and son age 12—were taking Benji for a walk around their Tower Road neighborhood at 3 p.m. on March 19, as they did every afternoon. After they rounded the corner of Old Woods Road back onto Tower, they crossed to the opposite side of the street before continuing home, Carcaldi said.
“They would always cross the street because every time they passed the dog would lunge and the leash is long enough for him to get his paws on the street,” she said.
Last Monday, as the children crossed on the west side, the rottweiler lunged and the chain gave way, letting it loose on Benji.
“It got my little boy [the Bichon Frise] in its mouth and ripped him off the leash, then tried to take him back inside the house,” according to Carcaldi, who said that the small dog was killed instantly and only suffered briefly. “He just yelped and didn’t give up a fight.”
The rottweiler finally released the dog after an adolescent resident of 45 Tower Road, the only person home at the time, came outside and coaxed it away with a bone. Carcaldi’s kids scooped up Benji and ran to the neighbor’s home, where they called their mother and .
Police fined the owner $600 and the rottweiler was evaluated by Regional Animal Control officer Audrey McKay, who said in an interview that the dog had no prior history of attacking other animals or showing aggression toward humans.
The rottweiler is “fine with people,” McKay said. “There are some dogs that just do not like other dogs — they’re great with people but really bad with other dogs.”
As this is the first offense, the dog will not be killed. However, “If it broke free again, it would be taken and put down,” McKay said.
Instead, the rottweiler must now be inside the house or in a fenced-in area when not with an owner. It must also be on a leash and wear a muzzle when outside.
Carcaldi said she wishes the laws were more aggressive and has contacted state Rep. David Scribner (R-107) to see what can be done.
“If you’re going to own a vicious dog, I’m going to try to change the laws in Connecticut,” she said, including mandating higher homeowner’s insurance and tougher consequences for offenses.
Carcaldi said the family may eventually get another dog, but they won’t be walking it around the neighborhood.