Dog Bite Creates Controversy with Trumbull Councilwoman, FS Herbst

First Selectman Tim Herbst says Town Councilwoman Martha Jankovic Mark failed to control a shelter dog she was walking and failed to help a man the dog bit. Mark says she followed protocol. No charges have been filed in the incident.

An Oct. 13 dog bite incident has led First Selectman Tim Herbst to admonish Town Councilwoman Martha Jankovic Mark, who was walking the dog at the time.

But Mark said the police report had limited information and denied Herbst's allegations. No charges have been filed. The dog, whose rabies vaccination expired in May, has been quarantined for 14 days since the bite, police said.

"My husband, one of my sons, and I have been Trumbull Animal Group (TAG) members for some time, spending hundreds of combined hours walking and socializing these animals since our family dog, Sadie, who we had 'rescued,' passed away a couple of years ago. While I share Herbst’s concern for our fellow citizens and thank him for his support for TAG, his letter lacks crucial details in his interpretation of what transpired that day, basing it on limited information from [the alleged victim's] statements and the brief police report," Mark said.


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Police said Mark, a volunteer for the Trumbull Animal Group, was walking a Pit Bull mix named Ruby when the dog bit a 79-year-old man on the leg while his back was turned. He had given the dog a "wide berth" before the bite, police said.

The bite broke the skin, and the man, a Trumbull resident, was later treated for his injury, police said.

Herbst said Mark failed to place herself between the man and the dog, against regulations, and failed to offer assistance or ask the man if he needed it.

Mark denied Herbst's accusations in a letter (attached).

"I find it abhorrent that Herbst would politicize this horrible, unfortunate incident by sending this letter to me and simultaneously releasing it to the press since it does not help TAG or the victim in this incident. TAG does not deserve this amount of negative attention when our Animal Control Officer and other employees and volunteers do so much good work on a daily basis, every day, all year long to care for and find good homes for our dogs. Herbst’s only intent could be to purposely malign my character, without having checked all of his facts. He never spoke with me about this matter," Mark said. 

"TAG is a wonderful organization with dedicated volunteers who do good work.  Even when all rules are followed, incidents can happen. It saddens me that Herbst is taking such an unfortunate accident and attempting to use our pain to his advantage politically," she added.

Meanwhile, Animal Control Officer Lynn Dellabianca said steps are being taken to prevent future incidents.

"I and TAG are taking measures to make sure volunteers are retrained on the proper procedures while they are walking the shelter dogs," she said.

Karen Pastor October 19, 2012 at 10:25 AM
Go get em Timmy! That's how you lead by example. How's that sewer project coming?
Razkel October 19, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I feel very badly about what happened. I am not going to get into the politics of all this. However, I have two comments I would like to make. Possibly Ruby was abused by a male and that is why she attacked the gentleman. Also, why were the dog's shots not up to date? Should it not be a policy for all shelter animals shots to be up to date? Just saying. I really hope the dog does not get put down.
jeff wright October 19, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Joe Smith October 26, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Oh oh. It looks like the weather might be bad this week. Better cancel halloween now and save taxpayers all that money that would be wasted on candy. Better write a letter to god while you're at it & chastise him for sending bad weather two years in a row. Why does god hate halloween?
vampares November 05, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Golf tournaments are sociable events. Allowing the dog to bite anyone at all make the community truly dangerous.


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