STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A manager at an animal shelter in Stamford has been fired for allegedly allowing vicious dogs to be adopted.
Stamford Mayor David Martin announced the firing of animal control manager Laurie Hollywood on Wednesday.
He told The Advocate of Stamford that Hollywood is accused of withholding information about dogs’ histories, falsifying records to cover up the adoptions of violent dogs and practicing as a vet without a license.
The mayor said that in at least two cases, dogs at the animal shelter that were adopted but returned because they bit someone were adopted out again. Officials said one dog was adopted despite having bitten three police officers, and it bit the new owner’s wife. Another dog tried to bite a child’s face.
The state warned Hollywood about the adoption of violent dogs in 2008 and 2011, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
Shelter volunteers have come to Hollywood’s defense, voicing their support on Facebook.
“You have been a beacon of strength and the backbone to Stamford’s animal community; a great resource to other shelters and an invaluable role model and icon to pet rescue groups in the North East. With you at the helm, the residents of Stamford could rest easy, knowing the homeless pets in our community were safe and loved,” Ali Girardi, president of Outreach to Pets in Need wrote on the Stamford Animal Friends & Advocates Facebook page. “We are heartbroken and stunned to learn the two-month investigation has led to your termination; some people call this a witch hunt, I refer to it as the eradication of an angel.”
CBS 2’s Lou Young went looking for Hollywood at her dog-decorated home in Newtown on Thursday, but she was nowhere to be found.
A lawyer who specializes in dog bite cases told Young victims bitten by the animals in question may have a hard time collecting damages.
“The transfer of a dangerous dog is liable. In this particular situation the transfer is the city of Stamford. Cities have governmental immunity so that might be a problem for the injured party. They indeed may (get off the hook),” attorney Patrick McCabe said.
More alarmingly, the operators of other shelters in Fairfield and Westchester counties said they are worried that their credibility could be damaged by the case in Stamford.
Dana Rocco of the New Rochelle Humane Society was asked if it would make sense to want to protect a vicious dog.
“Yeah, I could see how somebody would want to shield the dog, give the dog that second chance. But by hiding the history, they set the dog up to fail,” Rocco told Young.
Adoptions at the shelter in Stamford have been suspended until the investigation is complete, Young reported.
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