Three dogs that police said attacked an employee and her dog on a bike trail on the Avon-Farmington town line last year were originally slated to be euthanized.
However, Italian mastiffs Emma, Bear and their mother Envy are alive and living in separate homes thanks to a woman who contacted Avon-Canton Officer Beverly LaPlume suggesting an alternative.
The woman, who is affiliated with the Cane Corso Association of America, offered to assess whether it would be safe to keep the dogs alive if they were separated and brought to rescue.
Farmington owner Annalea Badera refused the option at the beginning of what became about a year of hearings at the Department of Agriculture. She and her family appealed LaPlume's . The department commissioner upheld LaPlume's decision.
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The situation came about after a – including two others in Farmington – within the span of four days. On Dec. 16, 2010, the mastiffs – running off-leash on the Farmington Valley Greenway – bit the ears and rear of a Weimaraner on the trail by Avon Old Farms, police said. One sunk its teeth into the Weimaraner owner's arm as Badera's father, Thomas – who was walking the dogs – tried to pry them off the Weimaraner, the victim told police. The Weimaraner escaped and the owner found her dog on her front lawn, bleeding. She sought medical treatment for her arm and the dog was stitched up at Animal General in Avon.
Thomas Badera, 53, was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, three counts of allowing dogs to roam and the violation of three town ordinances, including laws pertaining to “nuisance dogs” and keeping dogs leashed.
When the mastiffs were surrendered, the dogs still showed aggression around other dogs and their "pack mentality" was hard to break, LaPlume previously said.
“Knowing how many incidents have taken place, we can’t release the dogs without a disposal order … because if we release them we’re putting residents at risk,” LaPlume previously told Patch.
The last time the town of Avon issued a disposal order was about six years ago.
Without the Baderas' consent to explore the option of giving the dogs to a canine rescue agency, the dogs were going to be put down, according to LaPlume. The Baderas' lawyer contacted Avon's town attorney soon before the mastiffs were going to be killed and asked if the offer to place the dogs in a rescue was still on the table.
Avon's town attorney contacted the woman associated with Cane Corso and asked her to come evaluate the dogs. She deemed it safe for the dogs to be kept alive but separated.
An out-of-state rescue placed the dogs in three separate rescue facilities, each in a different state outside of Connecticut, LaPlume said.
"From what I understand, the rescue organization was very responsible by getting the dogs spayed and neutered before they were placed in the three separate rescue organizations," LaPlume said.
LaPlume said that the rescues would then have qualified personnel reassess the dogs again before they're placed in permanent homes.
The surrendered dogs had been living separate in kennels for about a year before they were taken to their new homes.
Correction: An original version of the article reported that Beverly LaPlume contacted the woman from Cane Corso who reached out to her to make the arrangements. While LaPlume gave the contact information to Avon's town attorney, it was the town attorney that contacted the woman to arrange the assessment and placing the dogs in a rescue. The article also originally stated that the dogs were placed in three separate homes, but LaPlume clarified that the rescue organization placed them in three separate rescue facilities. The rescues will reassess the dogs before placing them in permanent homes. The article has been updated to reflect these corrections.