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Buddy's Last Chance at Life

Final appeal for Milford Golden Retriever to get off death row is set for Wednesday in Hartford.

A final appeal for the life of Buddy, the Golden Retriever on death row in Milford, is set for Wednesday morning in Hartford.

As state hearing officer has already proposed that Buddy be put down because he's a danger to other animals.

"I strongly recommend that the disposal order be affirmed as issued," Hearing Officer Richard Joaquin wrote in his three-page proposed decision obtained by MilfordPatch.

He said, however, that there is no proof that Buddy is a danger to humans.

The state agriculture commissoner makes the final decision. A last appeal to save Buddy from lethal injection is set for a hearing Wednesday morning in Hartford.

Milford Animal Control put Buddy on death row in October 2010 after the dog fought with other animals. Two people were injured during the incidents.

Buddy, who's seven years old, has been held at Milford Animal Control inside Silver Sands State Park since then.

In March 2010, Buddy got loose and attacked the companion animal of Marjorie Brower-Cole, the hearing officer said.

"During the efforts to end the altercation, Ms. Cole sustained a minor puncture wound on her hand from Buddy," the officer wrote.

"The attack by Buddy on the Cole's dog was aggressive, and unprovoked..."

As a result, Buddy's owner, Victoria Stillings, was required by a restraint order to muzzle Buddy at all times when he was outside her home, to contruct an outdoor kennel in her yard for him, and to not allow the retriever loose at any time.

Stillings was issued an infraction ticket then, charging her with allowing the dog to roam and creating a nuisance.

Despite the ticket and orders, Buddy was off property, unrestrained and not muzzled in October 2010, the hearing officer notes.

Buddy roamed to a nearby beach, where a neighbor tried to help the retriever out of the water, where the dog was struggling, the hearing officer said.

"Buddy suddenly ran from the water and attacked (another neighbor's) dog and in the process (that neighbor) was knocked over sustaining minor injuries," the hearing officer wrote.

That neighbor was Jean Mario, the elderly mother of Milford personal injury lawyer Carter Mario.

"In both of the above described incidents, Buddy was the aggressor and initiator of biting contact between the dogs involved," the officer wrote.

In light of the two incidents, Milford Animal Control issued a disposal order on the dog.

"Given the two incidents previously described, the facts clearly prove that 'Buddy' has a propensity to attack companion animals," the officer wrote.

"I am not convinced, however, that 'Buddy' is a threat to people."

But, he noted that the law does not require that a dog be a threat to people for a disposal order on the animal to be upheld.

Stillings maintains that the original disposal order claimed Buddy was a danger to people -- something the hearing officer disputed. She told MilfordPatch that her attorney will make that point, among others, during the "last ditch" effort to save Buddy's life.

"So, they're going to grasp at straws to put him down for anything," she said.

Stillings conceded that Buddy got loose in October -- but that was when a friend was watching him while she was on a business trip.

"He did get out, but I had an adult watching my dog," she said. "Call me irresponsible."

Chief Animal Control Officer Rick George said simply, "It's in the hands of the state."

Gaele Favro September 01, 2011 at 08:17 PM
Court for Buddy. Tuesday Sept 6 @ 9:30. 14 west river street. Milford, CT.
jeff sanctuary September 04, 2011 at 11:46 PM
WE AGREE, THIS DOSE NOT SOUND LIKE BUDDY. WE HAD OUR GOLDEN FOR 14 YEARS AND NEVER EVER DID HE HURT ANYONE. IN FACT THEIR KNOWN FOR THEIR GENTEL NESS AND WELL MANNER.PLEASE SAVE BUDDY PLEASE
Lorrie September 06, 2011 at 03:45 PM
GOOD LUCK TO BUDDY!! WE ARE ALL PRAYING FOR A GOOD OUTCOME!
Gary Jeanfaivre September 06, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Update as of 11 a.m. on Sept. 6 -- Judge gives involved parties three hours to work out a settlement before a hearing this afternoon.
Cindy Howard September 06, 2011 at 04:17 PM
I'm praying for Buddy.

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