An Oct. 13 dog bite incident has led First Selectman Tim Herbst to admonish Town Councilwoman Martha Jankovic Mark, who was walking the dog at the time.
But Mark said the police report had limited information and denied Herbst's allegations. No charges have been filed. The dog, whose rabies vaccination expired in May, has been quarantined for 14 days since the bite, police said.
"My husband, one of my sons, and I have been Trumbull Animal Group (TAG) members for some time, spending hundreds of combined hours walking and socializing these animals since our family dog, Sadie, who we had 'rescued,' passed away a couple of years ago. While I share Herbst’s concern for our fellow citizens and thank him for his support for TAG, his letter lacks crucial details in his interpretation of what transpired that day, basing it on limited information from [the alleged victim's] statements and the brief police report," Mark said.
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Police said Mark, a volunteer for the Trumbull Animal Group, was walking a Pit Bull mix named Ruby when the dog bit a 79-year-old man on the leg while his back was turned. He had given the dog a "wide berth" before the bite, police said.
The bite broke the skin, and the man, a Trumbull resident, was later treated for his injury, police said.
Herbst said Mark failed to place herself between the man and the dog, against regulations, and failed to offer assistance or ask the man if he needed it.
Mark denied Herbst's accusations in a letter (attached).
"I find it abhorrent that Herbst would politicize this horrible, unfortunate incident by sending this letter to me and simultaneously releasing it to the press since it does not help TAG or the victim in this incident. TAG does not deserve this amount of negative attention when our Animal Control Officer and other employees and volunteers do so much good work on a daily basis, every day, all year long to care for and find good homes for our dogs. Herbst’s only intent could be to purposely malign my character, without having checked all of his facts. He never spoke with me about this matter," Mark said.
"TAG is a wonderful organization with dedicated volunteers who do good work. Even when all rules are followed, incidents can happen. It saddens me that Herbst is taking such an unfortunate accident and attempting to use our pain to his advantage politically," she added.
Meanwhile, Animal Control Officer Lynn Dellabianca said steps are being taken to prevent future incidents.
"I and TAG are taking measures to make sure volunteers are retrained on the proper procedures while they are walking the shelter dogs," she said.