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Guilford dog on death row awaits fate as controversy continues

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GUILFORD - The fate of a beloved family dog in Guilford is up in the air after he bit a teenager.

The dog’s name is Simon,  a 6-year-old, 70 pound pit bull and possibly a great dane mix. He’s locked up at Guilford’s animal shelter and is on death row.

“It’s hard to see Simon locked up in a cage,” said his owner, David Young. “He’s a gentle dog. Grew up with four of my children. He’s a family dog. He’s a family member.”

Young is appealing the decision by the town to issue a disposal order that would have had the dog euthanized.

The incident dates back to August 8, 2017. A police report states that Simon bit and chased a 13-year-old neighbor who entered Young’s yard with a lacrosse stick to retrieve his ball.

The boy needed stitches.

“Simon is a rescue. I don’t know his history. I don’t know if he was ever beaten with a stick. I don’t know his history. But he has never had an issue with a person before,” explained Young.

But the police report did detail a dog vs. dog incident in February of 2017 — and cited complaints from several neighbors who claimed they walk the neighborhood with sticks because Simon gets out of the yard.

Young claims Simon doesn’t cross the invisible electric fence. His physical fence does have some holes. Simon was in the yard with a dog sitter where he may have felt threatened by the boy.

“Something that any dog owner would hope their dog would do to protect them. If it was somebody with a gun, Simon would be hailed a hero,” stated Young.

FOX61 knocked on the neighbor's door for a comment but got no answers.

Guilford 1st Selectman Matt Hoey told FOX61 they can’t comment on specifics due to pending litigation, but did say the animal control officer and police chief are following a process defined by state statute.

“As a longtime dog owner, I understand the reaction that people have to this and I appreciate the concerns that this challenging case has. But it’s exactly that. It’s an ongoing matter,” said Hoey, who was not the town’s 1st Selectman on the date of the incident.

Young told FOX61 he was never invited to the meeting where the decision was made to euthanize Simon.

“The town had a meeting that I was not invited to, I was not advised what the nature of the meeting was.”

The town says he was.

“He was invited to the meeting where the decision was made on the disposal of the dog.”

Young is now appealing to Gov. Malloy to step in and save Simon. The town said it’s up the Department of Agriculture. A hearing is scheduled for the fall.

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