Aftermath of a Tusten dog attack

By LINDA DROLLINGER
Posted 5/19/20

NARROWSBURG, NY — A woman and her dog were attacked by another dog on April 19 as they walked on the Narrowsburg flats. At its May 12 meeting, held via Zoom, the Tusten Town Board heard from …

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Aftermath of a Tusten dog attack

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NARROWSBURG, NY — A woman and her dog were attacked by another dog on April 19 as they walked on the Narrowsburg flats. At its May 12 meeting, held via Zoom, the Tusten Town Board heard from her, and others, what might be done to prevent similar incidents.

Jennifer Bittetto was walking her dog on a leash when an unleashed pit bull, owned by an Air B&B guest, went to attack it. Bittetto successfully wrenched her dog away from the attacker but received numerous bite wounds to her forearm. After receiving emergency medical treatment, a police report was filed.

Bittetto told the board, “A clear set of guidelines for dog public behavior is needed.”

After thanking her for sharing her experience with the board, Supervisor Ben Johnson said, “Tusten has a leash law on its books.”

The full text of that law can be found on the town’s website (www.townoftusten.org) at www.ecode360.com/32281441.

Several suggestions for avoiding attacks and other unacceptable dog behaviors were offered. Former code enforcement officer Stephen Stuart mentioned that Air B&Bs located in private residences may be in violation of the town’s building code, and said many of those have sprung up overnight in response to demand for short-term rentals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stuart also said that, in addition to ensuring Air B&Bs are operating legally, the town should require hosts of pet-friendly establishments to advise their guests of the town’s leash law.

Linda Peters of Narrowsburg said she thought creating a dog park on the flats where dogs could exercise without harm to people or property might be the answer.

About that, Bittetto said, “I was in favor of a dog park on the flats until I heard it might be located near the children’s playground.”

The town’s animal control officer, Nico Juarez, will be meeting with town attorneys to discuss the existing leash law, which was adopted in 1982 and updated in 2008 to reflect increased fees for unleashed dogs. In addition, Johnson said the town must increase awareness of its leash law through public information sessions, website notices and street signage.

Councilperson Brandi Merolla thought leash law signs should be strategically placed at two locations: on the flats, a popular dog-walking destination, and at the Ten Mile River access site. She and Johnson agreed that the town should not be saturated with leash law signage. However, Tusten beautification committee member Star Hesse asked that a sign be placed in the Post Office flower garden, where she regularly finds doggie deposits left by well-meaning dogs hoping to fertilize the blooms.

In the night’s other key discussion topic, the Little Lake Erie culvert replacement project, it appears that Delaware Engineering may be asked to collaborate with some unlicensed engineers: beavers. Created and maintained by beavers, Cackletown Road Pond is a tributary of Little Lake Erie. Whenever the beaver dam is damaged or breached, Little Lake Erie floods. Property owners with pond frontage and pond floor rights want the pond preserved and the beavers protected. They hope the beaver dam, considered an impermanent flow control structure, will be included in the hydrologic study done by Delaware Engineering.

A special town board meeting is scheduled for May 26 at 6:20 p.m., via ZOOM, to discuss an environmental impact study related to the town’s new food digester/composter. See the town’s website for connection information.

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