Update Tuesday, June 4 at 7 p.m. — Village Court Judge Michael Morrissey presided over the 6 p.m. court hearing for the dog attack that took place on McMaster Street on May 6. Counsel for both parties met before Judge Morrissey and a decision was made to adjourn the case until next month. More information about the incident and photographs of the fence in question will be collected before a resolution is made regarding the future of the rottweiler involved in the attack. The investigation will be done by Animal Control.
After the hearing, The Ballston Journal spoke with Nicole Coady whose dog was killed in the attack.
“I’m disappointed. I’d hoped that the dog would be re-homed so we could just feel safe again. Now we have to wait until the Animal Controller – whether he decides the property is safe or not. We’re not going to feel safe if that dog stays there, I’m sure … It’s another 30 days we can’t go in our own backyard and we feel scared to walk our [other] dog down the street.”
A second hearing is scheduled for July 9 at 6 p.m. at the village courthouse located at 30 Bath Street.
Update by Josh Russo.
BALLSTON SPA – The evening of May 6 ended with the death of a family dog on McMaster Street in Ballston Spa after a neighbor’s rottweiler broke out of a fenced back yard and attacked and killed one of two five-pound dogs owned by Nicole Coady and her family. The incident took place in front of a helpless Coady and her 12-year-old daughter.
“From the time this dog arrived next door, we have lived in fear of going into our back yard,” Coady told The Ballston Journal in an email. “When either myself, any of my friends or our dogs went into our backyard, the dog would jump at the fence with its full force barking like crazy, snarling and appearing as aggressive as I have ever seen a dog.”
After the attack, Village Police and Animal Control responded, according to Coady. “They were wonderful and came to my house to write up a full report,” she said of the police. “Animal Control has also been amazing and I have filed an official complaint with them and they are taking it to the Village Attorney.” Coady hopes by involving Animal Control and the Village Attorney, the neighbors, Catherine (Carrie) Curvin and William Springstead, of McMaster Street, will be forced to give up the dog. “We pray the judge will see the danger to our community and order the dog to be removed from the premises,” she said.
Coady alleges the neighbors, who did not respond to an email or Facebook message for comment, knew of the dog’s violent propensity and have minimized her fear and refused to take it seriously. “Our neighbors seemed to feel that a fence was the answer after we, and the neighbors on the other side of them, repeatedly asked them to do something,” she said. “They built a taller fence. It became clear relatively quickly that their dog was starting to dig tunnels out underneath the fence and also had begun to kick the boards loose.”
A description echoed by one of the Village animal control officers who did not wish to be identified. “I guess the dog has broken out of the previous fence they had, and last summer they put the current fence up, and the dog has been pushing the pickets off, but I believe this is the first time it actually came through this current fence. The attorney will be mandating that something else needs to keep the dog from being able to even get to the wooden fence. [For example} a chain, a steel cage, or the dog just can’t be outside unattended,” said the officer.
The animal control officer did say officials were not contacted until the next day and Curvin accompanied Coady to the animal hospital the evening of the incident.
Although they attempted to repair the fence from their own side, Coady said the dog continued to bark, snarl and hurl itself at the fence. And despite this, she said, the neighbors allegedly left the animal unattended in the backyard or were unable to stop the dog from attacking the fence. “Even when they saw that it was furiously trying to break through the fence, they would just stand at their back door ineffectually dangling a bag of treats and calling for the dog,” she said. “And their dog completely ignored them. They have absolutely no control at all over this dog.”
On the night of the attack that killed Rolly, Coady and her daughter let the family’s two dogs out to go to the bathroom. When they heard the rottweiler begin going “crazy on the other side of the fence” they rushed out to grab their dogs and bring them to safety. “I was just about to grab my five-pound dog Rolly when the rottweiler burst right through the fence busting out three boards and he went straight for Rolly and killed him in front of my 12-year-old daughter and I,” Coady said. “Terrified that he would try to kill us and our other dog too, I immediately rushed my daughter and other dog into the house. When I came back in the yard, the rottweiler had dragged Rolly into his yard. My daughter had run out the front door to bang on Will and Carrie’s door to tell them to stop their dog.”
Coady alleges the neighbors knew of the dog’s nature because the previous owners had known. “The vet who placed the dog with them had told them very clearly that this dog was lethal to other animals based on her own family’s prior experience with the dog,” she said. “This is not an animal that should be in close proximity to other dogs, and/or, frankly, people, as it had been incredibly aggressive toward me, pretty much every time I go in my back yard.”
According to Coady, the dog was originally owned by the parents of a veterinarian at the Ballston Spa Pet Clinic and was allegedly a threat to the previous owners animals. “We feel [that placing the dog with her neighbors] was extremely negligent as she knew this dog was lethal to other animals and our neighbors knew very well that there were pets and children living on both sides of their property in close proximity,” Coady said.
Additionally, she said the neighbors haven’t taken responsibility for what happened beyond acknowledging the difficulty of losing a pet. “They said they knew how hard it was to lose a dog you love, but said nothing about their part in the event,” she said. “They have offered to pay for our dog’s cremation and adoption fees if we choose to get a new dog and say they will repair the fence. They seem to feel this is just an unfortunate thing that happened and just fixing the fence will make it safe. It will not.”
With the outcome still to be determined, one thing is certain for the Coady family: “My family will never feel safe as long as this dog resides next door to us,” Coady said. “There is no fence that is going to contain it and even if there was one, I do not believe it can be contained in the house, or even when they walk it down the street.”
She said they have arranged counseling for their daughter, who missed three days of school following the attack. “We have experienced something out of a nightmare in which we all felt our own lives and the life of our surviving dog were threatened in what was supposed to be our safe home,” Coady said.