The fate of Simon the pit bull remains unknown after he bit a teenager that entered his yard, but attorneys for the dog’s owner have sued the state Department of Agriculture in an effort to save the dog’s life.
The lawyers claim the agency cannot be impartial in ruling on whether Simon lives or dies.
The Department of Agriculture was slated to have an informal conference on Simon’s status Monday, but the conference was abruptly called off. According to Thomson Page, the Hartford-based attorney for Dr. David Young, Simon’s owner, the conference was called off due to media and supporters of Simon showing up at the Department of Agriculture’s Hartford headquarters.
The conference was to be held Monday as a follow up to a meeting held last month.
Monday’s called-off conference came on the heels of a First Amendment lawsuit filed Sept. 21 by Page.
Page said the Department of Agriculture was trying to put a gag order on any proceedings related to Simon. Then, after Monday’s conference was canceled, Page filed a motion for civil contempt against Agriculture Commissioner Steven Reviczky and department legal counsel Carole Briggs. Page said in the motion that it’s essential that an entity other than the Department of Agriculture hear evidence on the biting incident involving Simon. Page told the Connecticut Law Tribune Wednesday he’s open to anyone other than the department holding a meeting. “This [Department of Agriculture hearing] is such a kangaroo court,” he said. “People’s constitutional rights are being infringed on. These proceedings belong in a courtroom.”
Page said he’d be open to having U.S. District Judge Alfred Covello of the District of Connecticut hear the case. Covello will decide the motion for civil contempt. It’s not clear when Covello will issue a ruling on the matter.
“We sued Mr. Reviczky for putting on a gag order. Obviously, he cannot be impartial on deciding whether the kill order was justified,” Page said. Guilford Animal Control Officer Danielle Borrelli gave the order to put Simon down over the August 2017 incident when he bit the teen who had entered the family yard to retrieve a lacrosse stick and ball. The Young family maintains the boy was holding the stick over his head in a menacing fashion, which led the 8-year-old pit bull mix to bite him. The boy needed 11 stitches to his thigh and two to his ankle. The town claims there were other incidents in which Simon either nipped at a person or went after another dog. Those claims are disputed by the family.
Nathan Wilson, press representative for the Department of Agriculture, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.