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Suit cites police dog attack
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
By BETSY CALVERT
[email protected]
GREENFIELD - A mother and daughter have filed suit against the town of Montague, a police officer and another resident for a 2002 attack by the town's then-police dog, Booker.

Filing suit last week in Franklin Superior was Helen Hanks of 106 Montague St., who also filed suit on behalf of her minor daughter, Amanda Singleton. Also named in the suit were Police Sgt. John Dempsey and Theresa J. Zamojski. The suit charges the defendants with negligence and liability.

Hanks was 41 when she reported being attacked by Booker, a German shepherd. The dog was living nearby with Dempsey and Zamojski at 110 Montague St.

Booker's job included tracking, drug-sniffing and "aggressive apprehension." A few months after the attack, selectmen decided to trade him for a less-aggressive police dog.

The current police dog is a female named Kyra.

Hanks told The Sunday Republican in November 2002 that Booker was waiting in her driveway as she drove up with her 10-year-old daughter and 13-year-old Labrador retriever in the car's back seat. He had escaped from his kennel. Booker apparently wanted to take on Hanks' dog. Hanks said she was severely bitten by Booker as she tried to prevent him from getting into the back seat of the car.

Booker reportedly made it to the back seat anyway, injuring the elderly dog and traumatizing the little girl, the suit states.

Hanks said at the time that she was bitten once on the left hand, twice on the left forearm, once on the right forearm and once on the breast.

The suit states that Hanks needed extensive medical treatment, and that her daughter suffered severe, permanent emotional distress and pain.

The suit did not state a financial demand.

All the defendants are accused of failing to properly supervise the dog, failing to properly control the dog, to properly register and license the dog, keeping the dog in violation of a city ordinance, failing to warn the community about the dangerous propensities of the dog, and failing to otherwise act reasonably to prevent an attack by the dog.

New Police Chief Raymond Zukowski said he was not aware a suit had been filed, and had no comment. He confirmed Booker no longer works for the town.

Town Administrator Frank Abbondanzio also had no comment.
 
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