New Britain City Journal

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Dog Bites on the Rise, Pound Almost Full


With warmer weather many people are taking their dogs out more often. It may be one reason why dog bites are on the rise in the City.

“There are always dog on dog bites, but we are inundated with dogs biting people,” said Sgt. Paula Keller. “If you own a dog and you know it is not friendly, you have to keep it on a leash and put a muzzle on it when it is out for the safety of everybody else.”

Keller said people also need to be taught how to interact with an unknown dog. Kids often want to give kisses. Dogs often don’t like people in their personal space. Her advice is to always ask the dog owner if you can pet their dog.

“Biting is an issue and children are susceptible to getting bit because they are at eye level,” Keller said. “If you see a stray dog, even if it is a friendly dog, it could bite if it gets scared.”

And if a bite happens, there could be consequences. That punishment is strict confinement to stop the spread of rabies. By law, dogs must be quarantined for 14 days even if it has its rabies vaccine. If the bite occurred on your property, you can quarantine your dog at home. If it occurred somewhere else, then the dog must go to a dog pound or boarding kennel facility.

The owner must pay all fees associated with quarantining the animal.

If the dog has its shots, the person bit does not have to go through any procedures. But humans often will have to get shots if bitten by a stray or feral cat.

“Cats are more susceptible to rabies. We have a high population of feral cats in this City,” said Keller. “There has been no dog with rabies in the state for a very long time, but dogs can get bitten by raccoons and get rabies.”

If dogs are repeat offenders of biting humans, even stricter consequences could take place.

There are two types of rabies – paralytic and furious. Most in this area are paralytic which invloves an animal becoming paralyzed, going into a coma and dying.

According to, “Animals with rabies transfer the virus to other animals and to people via saliva following a bite or via a scratch. However, any contact with the mucous membranes or an open wound can also spread the virus. The transmission of this virus is considered to be exclusively from animal to animal and animal to human.”

Bites or scratches on the head and neck are thought to speed up the brain and spinal cord involvement because of the location of the initial trauma. If you’re bitten on the neck, seek help as soon as possible.

Call 860-826-3000 if you see a stray dog rather than trying to catch it.

There is good news at the animal control center as there have been no parvo outbreaks for three years since a new parvo ordinance was passed.

Large Number of Dogs at Pound

Although New Britain dog pound can have over 20 dogs, it is filling up as it presently has 14 dogs.

“We have mostly pitbull mixes because that type of dog is overbred,” said Keller. “People need to be educated to spay or neuter. If not, then keep it indoors and have no contact with the opposite sex.”

Many dogs at the pound are abandoned because of the high number of transient people in the City.

“Many are not homeowners. They rent apartments and they move. It is hard to find an apartment to take a dog and pitbulls have a reputation,” said Keller. “Homeowners don’t want them in their home and homeowners insurance won’t cover that type of dog so if you get a pet, get a plan.”

Keller said many people can’t take pets with them or get a pet knowing they are not supposed to have it.

“We get calls that people have to get rid of their dog. We will take them in a relinquishment if we have space,” she said. “I need kennels for roaming and stray dogs and quarantined dogs. There is a process to drop a dog off. It has to pass a temperment test, needs to be friendly, spayed or neutered and have its shots.”

At the pound there is a mixture of different ages of dogs. Some available are seniors, middle aged and several are young (3 or under). Finding a puppy is rare.

“The lack of veteranery care is big in the city. We do not have a veternarian in our city. Many people don’t have cars and can’t take dogs on the bus,” said Sgt. Keller. “People need to know dogs need pet care. It is very costly. People call and don’t have money for it. We don’t have money to pay for care. Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment.”

Of the 14 dogs at the pound, 1 dog is in quarantine for dog bite and 2 or 3 question marks for being placed. They are the little dogs and are scared.

“Most dogs see this as a scary place. They were owned at one point and don’t understand what is going on,” said Keller.

Adoption hours at the pound, 642 Christian Lane in Berlin are Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Pictures and information on some available dogs are at