[UPDATED] Wilton PD: Dog in Wilton Attack is Breed ‘Commonly Referred to as Pit Bull’

UPDATE (1:45 p.m. Nov. 19): Police have clarified their information regarding the dog attack that took place in Wilton on Monday, Nov. 11.

“The official breed is an American Staffordshire Terrier,” Lt. Donald Wakeman, public information officer for the Wilton Police told GMW.com at a press briefing. “We got that from the records of the vet where the animal had been taken to by the owner for checkups. We found that out last week. My understanding is that this type of terrier breed is one of several terrier breeds that are commonly referred to as a pit bull. It still falls into the category of what is typically considered a pit bull.”

From the ASPCA webpage on “The Truth About Pit Bulls“: “The most narrow and perhaps most accurate definition of the term “pit bull” refers to just two breeds: the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) and the American Staffordshire Terrier (AmStaff).”

Wakeman also clarified the police department’s usage of the terminology, “From the very first day, it’s been referred to us as a pit bull. I don’t think that’s inaccurate, but we do now have a specific breed to attach to it.”

Wakeman also said, “The initial examination showed that the dog was approximately 65 pounds, and appeared to be in good shape, with no obvious signs of maltreatment or malnourishment,” and he added that there was nothing on the property where the dog lived and the attack occurred to indicate dog fighting or training.

When asked about whether the dog might have eaten something to have caused it to attack, Wakeman said nothing has been determined, and that they have been unable to interview the victim, who is still in the hospital because of her wounds.

“There is additional testing that is ongoing. There was an initial examination of the dog last week at a local veterinary hospital, in addition to the head being tested for rabies. Subsequent to that there is going to be additional testing of the body, to see if it’s even able to be determined if there was any type of foreign substance that the dog ingested–not that we have any information at this point that points to that.”

Earlier in the week police confirmed that rabies tests came back negative. Police were unable to specify when additional results would be completed.

Wakeman confirmed there has been heightened media interest in the story. “Channel 12, Channel 40, New York Daily News, New York CBS Radio, FOX-CT, NBC 30, Hartford Courant, CT Post.”

ORIGINAL STORY, (published 12:27 a.m. Nov. 19):  There was a full agenda at last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, but the most dramatic moment took place toward the end. That was when Capt. John Lynch of the Wilton Police Department appeared before the town officials to answer questions about a recent dog attack that happened in town.

Editor’s note:  The particularly gruesome dog attack has been reported extensively by many local media outlets as well as some statewide, regionally and even nationally. GMW made the decision to not report about it unless we could further the story in a way that fit our mission, because the media was basically saturated with similar details. We felt last night’s statement by Capt. Lynch was significant enough to warrant us covering it.

At the meeting, Capt. Lynch provided information that countered what had been reported by police and other media in the past—that being the dog involved in the attack was actually not a pit bull, as had been previously said.

When he was asked if the dog in question was a pit bull, Lynch responded, “Technically, no, it wasn’t. Certainly it looked like what people consider to be a pit bull. I personally have a small pit bull—she’s  a very friendly dog but she’s well trained. There’s a lot of anti- vs. pro-pit bull [sentiments] out there, it seems to be a societal issue at this point. I won’t determine either side. But it was a very, large aggressive dog, and obviously very dangerous. We had to do what was needed to help the victim.”

As for the breed, Lynch said, “It’s kind of beside the point.  That name has a stigma to it. Any dog can become aggressive and violent, in this case it could have been any other of the breeds.  It was just a very large dog. It was a danger to whomever would have wandered by.”

As for what prompted the attack, Lynch said the investigation is still open and the police are still working on establishing a possible reason. “But I don’t know that we’ll ever know that, it’s an animal,” he stated.

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