Donkey Bites New Canaan Woman during Dog Attack

A miniature donkey bit the woman's forearm Wednesday morning as she tried to rescue the animal from a brutal attack her own two dogs had launched after they breached an invisible fence at home.


Paramedics transported a New Canaan woman to a hospital Wednesday morning after a miniature donkey bit her right forearm as she tried to rescue the beast from her own two dogs that were attacking it, police say.

An investigation is underway following the unusual events that transpired shortly after 8 a.m. up near the Pound Ridge, NY border, according to Officer Mary Ann Kleinschmitt, head of the New Canaan Police Department’s animal control unit.

At around 8:10 a.m. two 60-pound Siberian husky mix dogs escaped from their invisible fence on Lantern Ridge Road and attacked the miniature donkey in a corral he shared with another, regular-sized donkey on North Wilton Road, Kleinschmitt said.

“He [the donkey] has 15 puncture wounds all over his body, his tail was torn off and his eye also has a puncture wound on it,” Kleinschmitt told New Canaan Patch. “He has severe injuries to his rear, to his bowel, and legs, and also had two other major head wounds from the dogs.”

The dogs’ owner, realizing they had breached the fence, located the dogs and pulled them off of the miniature donkey and put them into her car. However, during the tussle, the donkey bit her.
Kleinschmitt said the woman was in shock when she arrived on scene.

According to a verbal statement taken on scene, Kleinschmitt said, “Because of pain, the donkey grabbed the arm of the woman and threw her to the ground.”

It isn’t clear what condition that woman is in. Kleinschmitt said that a veterinarian who arrived on scene said the donkey’s injuries were very serious but that, barring infection, it could make a full recovery.

“I have to tell you, I’m very interested to see what happens the next time he [the donkey] sees a dog,” Kleinschmitt said.

The dogs themselves were not injured, she said. Police took them back home to a pen inside the garage, Kleinschmitt said. The other donkey sustained a minor head injury, she said.

The two donkeys are the only such animals registered in New Canaan, Kleinschmitt said. It’s not unusual for a roaming dog to attack farm or similar domestic animals, she said.

What’s far more unusual is for a donkey to bite a person, she said.

“Donkeys usually are very docile and I knew that—and I happen to know this donkey—I know that something bad had to have happened,” she said.

The wounds on the donkey’s body showed that it must have been in severe pain, Kleinschmitt said.

“They [the dogs] had him all over the backs of his two legs, they tried to disembowel him and then one of the dogs, I guess, got him in the eye,” she said. “They knocked him down and that’s when he got a lot of severe head wounds.”

According to the vet, if all goes well, the donkey will “go back to normal,” Kleinschmitt said.

An investigation is underway. No charges have been filed yet, Kleinschmitt said. The animal control officer said she wasn't sure to which hospital paramedics had taken the woman. New Canaan Patch will update this article as more information becomes available.

Elyse January 26, 2013 at 02:03 PM
The donkey acted in self defense. The woman who was bitten, and who owned the dogs, has some hefty bills to pay. She's responsible for all the vet bills on the donkeys. A fine for letting her dog roams, and since her dogs attacked another animal... if nothing else, I would suspect a fine. The dogs need to be confined (Huskys are good at escaping - found one in my yard once dragging a heavy chain it snapped). Her home owners insurance may go up. It's sad to say that even if these are good pets, the fact they launched this attack may mean they may have to be put down. But that's up to the courts to decide.
Andy W. January 26, 2013 at 03:24 PM
dogsbite(dot)org is a terrible source for dog attack statistics. It is run by a woman who is trying to drive a certain breed to extinction. She doesn't care about dog bites unless they were committed by that certain breed. Any breed of dog can attack, as you can see by the Huskies that attacked in this case.
Glen K Dunbar January 26, 2013 at 03:36 PM
I agree Hollywood. I wonder how old Vikki is?? Anyhow,I am so sorry for the donkey and the dogs. It was really nobody fault. Just a very unfortunate happening. I hope all recover and are OK GLEN
Four Jacks January 26, 2013 at 03:39 PM
WHAT??? It was nobody's fault? Really?
Glen K Dunbar January 26, 2013 at 03:42 PM
From what I understand the dogs got loose by accident. The elec fence failed to keep the dogs in. I know myself how hard it can be to train or handle dogs.
Four Jacks January 26, 2013 at 04:04 PM
It's negligence on the part of the owner. If you can't handle it, don't own a dog.
Michael Dinan (Editor) January 26, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Quick update, everyone: Officer Richard Mercado of the New Canaan police animal control unit told me this morning (Saturday) that no charges yet have been brought and the case is still under investigation. A couple of stories I'm working on for next week include the efficacy of invisible fences themselves and the legal liability of dog/animal owners whose pets get loose and damage people/property. -Mike
Ali Girardi January 26, 2013 at 06:27 PM
We have become such a "blame game " society ! The best we can do is learn from horrible situations - maybe others reading this story will rethink their electronic fences or the size of their walls protecting children or pets . The gentlest of dogs chase deer and rabbit , and trust me - it is not so they can lick their faces ! The dogs were being dogs and it is unfortunate that they escaped from their yard . The donkey was reacting as an animal in pain and distress will react ! Thank goodness everyone involved will be okay ! Let's learn from this and help spread the word to prevent a situation like this from happening in our neighborhoods . Making a statement about a dog being vicious or a certain breed to be extinguished is beyond ignorant ! AMG
Baffled Resident January 26, 2013 at 11:20 PM
From my observations over the years, e-fences work well. However, the problems occur when: A. The owners don't remember to change the batteries. B. The owners remove the collar to take the dog off the property, and then forget to place it back on the dog.
Dave January 27, 2013 at 02:33 PM
For get about putting the donkey or dogs down put the dog owner down for not properly takeing care of her owne pets if something bigger and unknown came up or I came across I would put my guard up no one at all can say what the real sitsution was in the dogs mind at that time just the way the women was reacting to this most likey scared and in shock the dogs probably acted as this ASS was a threat for the donkey bitting her I would too if I had a crazy lady probably screaming while dog bit me as @easton said one ASS bites another I am in the pet care service have been for 20 years taken care of thousands of different types of Creatures and anaimsls are never threating till put in threating Situations good for the donkey bite away bite away ASS
Dave January 27, 2013 at 02:38 PM
And for those trying to compare animals bitting humans to animals biting other anaimsls you can't compare those two each Situation have different Parameters
Laura Stabell January 27, 2013 at 04:09 PM
The dog owner is liable for the damage her dogs did but now the donkey owner can be sued for the damages her donkey did to the woman. All of us pay in higher taxes and home owners insurance rates so their lawyers can fight it out in court. In the end, the human victim will get a large settlement for her "mental trauma". The judge will lambaste the donkey owner for not adequately protecting her animals and the dogs will get out again and kill or maim another animal. I have a problem child dog I rescued from the pound. I would never trust invisible fence! I have double fencing-front and back are both fenced separately, he is in the back so he cant bark at dogs on the road.This or a strong deer net or 6' wire fence PLUS an electric fence or invisible fence is the only way to go. Luckily he is now old and slowed down but many years of stress AFTER he was attacked by an aggressive male who was walked off leash by a psycho owner. I never let him off leash either (but had same loose dog attack us on the road after) After that, that dog and other people who walked there dogs off leash made our life hell-let their male dogs come into my yard to piss on his territory and try and attack him through his fence etc then complained when he barked at their male unfixed dogs.He was such a gentle dog-hung with the cats rolled with the kids- and gentle when I got him and fixed -gentle till he was repeatedly attacked while out walking with me and my kids(one a baby)-that just freaked him out.
Glen K Dunbar January 27, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Did the dogs have the elect fence on the dogs necks? If so, why did the elec fence fail?? IF it was a bad battery then..OK blame the owner. BUT, if it was the fault of the device itself then both owner and donkey owner should sue $$$$$$$$$ the elec fence company and retire rich :)
Lauren January 27, 2013 at 05:48 PM
This story broke my heart! I hate hearing of any animal getting hurt, especially in an attack, and especially a harmless, docile animal. I was a little concerned that they were going to try and save the donkey, as it seemed he was suffering more than it was worth..thats such a hard decision to have to make. Either way, I hope this poor sweet little donkey can have a full recovery and hopefully doesn't remember the attack and become a nervous, hard to handle animal.
Anne Treimanis January 28, 2013 at 02:18 AM
I am so sorry about this donkey. I have the same issue with my chickens. I used to enjoy allowing my hens to free range a bit in my yard. They loved to kick leaves in the bushes and I loved to sit and watch them. But on 3 different occasions a dog noticed them and attacked my girls. One dog was being walked by the owner with no leash. The other 2 dogs escaped their invisible fences. So now I have to lock up my hens at all times. I really miss hanging out in the yard with them. The fines for dog owners really need to be stiffer so owners would be more responsible.
Amy K January 28, 2013 at 03:56 AM
There is another problem with invisible fences other than a failed battery or forgetting to put the collar on. Smart persistent dogs will charge the fence line, and once they cross it and the shock ends, they have learned that they just have to move quickly through the zone. This may have been the first time the dogs escaped, but it doesn't sound like it from the story. The dog owner should be required to put up a more secure fence, and if there are any further problems, the dogs should be put down. I am sick of dog people letting their animals run amok. I am happy for you that you have such a bond with your non-human friend, but that does not mean that I want to meet him or befriend him. I do not want him to knock over my toddler and instill a life-long dog phobia because "he's just so excited by children!" I do not want him to stick his nose in my crotch and inhale deeply. I do not want him to jump on me, lick me- especially on the face (lips!), scratch my bare legs in the summer with his giant toenails, slobber/drool on me, shed on me, or demand to be petted by me. I do not to see your dog off leash, ever. I don't care if he's "so friendly and well-trained!" Keep him on your property or a leash, and teach him to heel or wait in the car. And when he is on a leash and you are walking him around the neighborhood, do not let him pee on my flowers or grass. You think it's ok if you just pick up the poo, but really, let him pee at your house. My kids play in that yard.
spencer richardson January 28, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Last I heard, the donkey is now in therapy for treatment of post-traumatic shock, but has also retained an agent to help it market this spellbinding story for a possible Hollywood screenplay. The dogs are looking at 5 - 10 years for felony assault, which their attorney expects to plea bargain down to a misdemeanor with 6 months' probation and 250 hours of community service. And rumor has it that the vet is thinking of putting down the dogs' owner. Meanwhile, the Invisible Fence Corporation has filed suit against everyone who has posted comments here critical of that company for defamation. Finally, the ASPCD (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Donkeys) is holding a coffee and doughnut breakfast discussion next week, the topic of which will be "Dogs and Donkeys: Oil and Vinegar or Chocolate and Peanut Butter?"
Michael Dinan (Editor) January 28, 2013 at 04:00 PM
Update here on fines levied against the dogs' owner, as well as an update on her own health and that of the miniature donkey: http://patch.com/A-10G1
Four Jacks January 28, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Totally agree with every one of your points.
Roberta Carsughi Tombolini January 29, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Credo che in momenti come questo sono la paura e soprattutto l'istinto che ti guidano. La sig.ra Newlin e' stata molto coraggiosa a rischiare la pelle per un asino, ha quasi perso un braccio per salvarlo! Per quanto riguarda i cani.... puo' succedere che scappino di casa.
soup1212 January 29, 2013 at 09:52 PM
this is very sad but honestly i don't think the owner really meant for this to all happen as i am someone who know this family i know that they would never try to do anything to hurt anyone or anything, it was just a mistake and i do feel very bad for the donkey but, she has been fined and there was just a problem with the fence, i know that is no way to get out of this situation but it was why they got out not because they were out of control. These dogs are puppies and are still learning how to behave but i feel there should it not be and more problems like the dogs being put down. The police have said that the donkey will be ok and so will the women. STOP MAKING MEAN COMMENTS ABOUT ERIN NEWLIN AND HOW SHE SOULD BE PUT DOWN!!
Fatpatricia January 29, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Totally agree @soup1212 i know them as well and they are the sweetest family, I think that' everyone has been so mean and we all need to support both defenders.
soup1212 January 29, 2013 at 10:15 PM
agreed i love this family and i kno you do to<3
soup1212 January 29, 2013 at 10:19 PM
are you kidding me putting the owner down you are the most reasonable person ever. It was a mistake that was not meant to happen!!!!!!!!!!
soup1212 January 29, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Michael Dinan (Editor) January 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM
According to the invisible fence company that installed the system at Newlin's home, she knew the invisible fence was down at the time the dogs ran off property and attacked the miniature donkey. Full story here: http://patch.com/A-13n9 -Mike
Glen K Dunbar January 29, 2013 at 11:36 PM
Roberta. Speak/Write ENGLISH...not whatever that was ????? I am sure both Familes are wonderful. It was a mistake and very sad situation. I only hope the Donkey will be ok. That is my ONLY concern...That and the dogs are not get in trouble. Glen
Dave January 30, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Now what do you think people would say if the lady bite the donkey two asses make one big ASS
Regan Schutz February 01, 2013 at 02:20 PM
I am the owner if a big dog(Pitt bull to b more exact). I believe if a dog or 2 whatever the case may be, gets loose and attacks another animal to extent they did, they should be euthanized immediately. I also have a 3 year old child and love him more then anything in this world and as a mother and a dog lover, I would have those dogs put down even if they were mine. What's to say next time it won't be a child. I've owned many dogs from Timber wolves to jack Russell's, some of them I bottle fed from 2 weeks old, my point is you can never trust a roaming dog like that, especially when there's more then 1. Apparently the woman is at fault, #1 for the care of her animals #2 the safety of her animals #3 the welfare of other animals as well as people. Never underestimate an animals behavior when running loose.
Amy K February 02, 2013 at 03:16 AM
Hilarious. Thank you for injecting some levity.


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