Company: Dogs' Owner Knew Invisible Fence Was Down at Time of Attack

Tree work done several days before the donkey attack had shut the invisible fence down, which the dogs' owner knew, says the Wilton-based company that installed the system.


The New Canaan woman whose dogs ran off property last week and mauled a neighbor’s miniature donkey knew that her invisible fence was not functioning at the time of the attack, according to the company that installed the system.

Four days before the Jan. 23 incident, tree work done at Erin Newlin’s Lantern Ridge Road home had led to a wire break that caused the invisible fence system to shut down, said Jesse Rosenschein, marketing communications manager at Wilton-based Canine Company.

Newlin initially had booked for a Jan. 24 repair but then on Jan. 22, phoned Canine Company “to say that the dogs were loose in the yard (despite the fact that the system was down) and they [were] running amuck,” Rosenschein told New Canaan Patch in an email. “They asked if we could send a technician sooner. So we did.”

The technician arrived the next morning, Jan. 23, about two hours after Newlin’s two dogs had attacked the donkey on nearby North Wilton Road—knocking him down, tearing off his tail, nearly disemboweling the animal and causing what police have called severe head injuries. Newlin herself broke up the fight by pulling her dogs off of the donkey, which bit her forearm in the scuffle. Both Newlin and the donkey are expected to make full recoveries, police have said.

Newlin, 49, when reached by Patch on Tuesday declined to comment before hearing the company's understanding of events.

Police cited Newlin for two counts each of allowing a dog to roam and owning a nuisance dog, and fined her $334 which she must pay or plead by Feb. 8.

Rosenschein said: “This incident is very unfortunate for our client and all those involved.”

"We care about all our clients and their pets and hope this saddening situation never happens again," she added.

"By calling us she was taking action to try to restore the safe and proper containment of her dogs," Rosenschein continued.

Originally, the dog’s escape was believed to have been a breach of the invisible fence itself.

According to Officer Richard Mercado of the New Canaan Police Department’s animal control unit, animals on properties where there are invisible fences do get out—typically because the batteries in their collars are low.

“And also power failure is one of the biggest [causes],” Mercado said.

Rosenschein told Patch during a phone interview that the company’s invisible fences are 99.5 percent effective.

“However, we do recommend professional training after installation because it’s really important to help your dogs learn and establish their boundaries,” she said.

Canine Company urges clients to sign up for a program that delivers batteries to their homes at scheduled intervals to ensure timely replacement. The company’s invisible fences beep when there’s a wire break—such as from construction, landscaping or a snowplow, she said—to alert clients to a problem. That’s what happened in Newlin’s case, she said.

The .5 percent of the time where invisible fences are not working include when there’s wire damage, unchanged batteries or a dog that has not been properly trained by a certified trainer.

“We always send a consultant to assess a dog before we put in a system and train the dog on the fence,” Rosenschein said. “If a fence is down, we encourage that the client continues to leash walk their pet until the system is properly restored.”

“In very rare circumstances, an evaluation will determine that a dog will not train well on a fence, in this case we will recommend that the dog owner not have the product installed,” she added.

Glen K Dunbar January 29, 2013 at 11:34 PM
If the dog owners knew the fence not working then they are at fault. Why would tree work interfere w/invisible fence though?? Just curious Our Dogs NEVER go out hardly. I not know how to walk them and they are not good w/other people. My wife too lazy to walk them. So, we use pads around the house. They work for the most part. Glen
CC January 30, 2013 at 12:09 AM
We believe Ms. Newlin was successfully and properly using the product for years, but for whatever reason the dogs escaped and a sad situation ensued. We wish a speedy recovery to all parties involved.
Dave January 30, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Do to how heavy some of these trucks or root systems lines can be broken do to a heavy work load but if owner knew the line was not working then stop being a lazy new Canaan person and walk you're dogs on leash totally owner fault and should pay for allllll vet bills as well as fines from town this is a perfect Example of lazy home owners not take two mins to pick up phone to get repaired the day of break plus thease systems have line break alarms in the circuit is not complete snd I know the dam buzzer that goes off
susan serven January 30, 2013 at 01:05 PM
It's very disconcerting to hear that dogs with (obvious) very violent tendencies are allowed in such a residential area. My concern would be that now that these dogs have been vicious once, they will be again. I often hear dogs barking furiously while bike riding with my children in the area. I always thought there was a very small likelihood that the dogs would ever get out. What will happen to the donkey when he comes home? What will happen to the dogs?
Betty J. Lovastik January 30, 2013 at 01:52 PM
As per the article, Canine Fence (who installed the fence where the 2 Huskies escaped) advises dog owners to walk their dogs on a leash if there is disruption in power (i.e., power outage or break). The IF signal beeps if there is a break. The dog owner is responsible for walking the dogs on a leash until the fence is restored. In this case, the dog owner knew the fence was not operational, acted irresponsibly and chose to let her dogs "run amuck". The owner should be liable for all vet bills at the very minimum. I am surprised that the two dogs were not euthanized under our Vicious Dog Ordinance.
Dave January 30, 2013 at 02:27 PM
What people Obviously don't get sticking up for all dogs miss@ Susan what would you do if two three unknown dudes dudets surprised you I'm sure you would not say hey buddies want a glass if wine no your body will put itself in protection mode this chemical Balance is also true in all animals when dogs are put in these Situations then yes they will Attack small big dogs cats any wild animals feeling threatened even its a big dumb ASS
Dave January 30, 2013 at 02:49 PM
It's the owners responsibility to continue the training on the fence some one dose come out and show owners what training they should continue after they have left the Feild I work in I have seen countless times that owners do not continue training what do you expect and the oh so hard Battery change take two mins plus the two mins to be put on plan where fence comp will send you battery in mail it's CALL NEW CANAAN lazy to busy drinking wine at the park or tennis or work outs to do simple things like that shoot if you want I'll come over to your house every month to change out battery
TP January 30, 2013 at 03:30 PM
I love how Canine Fence threw their customer under the bus. How about 'no comment' next time ?
MShed January 30, 2013 at 03:47 PM
How do you know Canine Fence didn't directly address the situation with the client? In my opinion, I don't think the client was thrown under the bus. The media can spin these things however they want. The company stated the facts including the fact she called for a repair to responsibly restore containment of the two dogs. When the integrity of a company's promise and product are compromised by false news reports, that company has the right to protect its reputation. All earlier reports said the dogs ran through the fence which I'm sure brought people out of the woodwork to jump on the bandwagon and bash their product. My guess is, this was an inaccuracy they had to address to clear their name. From what I can see, the company prides itself on keeping dogs safe... I'm sure they wanted to use this as a channel to get the word out that when a fence is down, you have to be careful in order to keep your pet and other safe.
Glen K Dunbar January 30, 2013 at 10:53 PM
was it due to a power outage? Ummm That is why the fence not work? Why did the power go out if that was the case? The weather around here stinks the NWS and CLP must be in it together to make our (at least my) life miserable....which it IS !!!
Dave January 31, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Hey @glen how about you get off your ass and help cl&p do there job I am sure you can come up with a way to get things done faster or maybe you can work in there secret weather center where they control the weather don't cry to the world that you can't live without power mite have to leave your house or something 
susan February 03, 2013 at 07:04 PM
What a horrible thing those dogs (Huskies??) did! Attacking a poor animal and ripping off its tail, and all the other terrible bites and aggression. Shame on the irresponsible dog owner. Those dogs should be put down--what if it's a person the next time they run "amuck?"


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