Pit-bull owner said dog had never bitten, had shots
By LINDA MOSS
The woman whose pit bull bit a man outside Raymond’s restaurant last weekend told patrons at the eatery that her canine had never acted that way before, according to a police report on the incident.
The dog owner was identified only as “Megan” of West Caldwell in the report, which Montclair Local obtained Thursday after filing an Open Public Records Act request. The report did identify the bite-victim as David Richard Waer, 50, of Montclair, who went to the hospital and began receiving rabies shots shortly after being bit.
The dog that bit him is now under a 10-day quarantine, as mandated by state law, according to Katya Wowk, the township's communications director.
Liz Morgan, acting director of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter, said Thursday that the incident is still under investigation. She declined to comment further.
On Saturday afternoon the Montclair Police Department was called to HackensackUMC Mountainside to investigate a report of a dog bite. the police report said.
When the officer arrived, Waer said that “he was walking south on Church Street, in the crosswalk, when he spotted a woman, later identified as Megan, with two dogs sitting at an outside table at Raymond’s,” according to the police report.
Waer told police that “as he walked by one of the dogs, described as a cream-colored pit bull, the dog leaped five feet and bit his right forearm near his elbow,” the report said.
The responding police officer, Brian Klukowicz, said that he examined the injury and that the bite “produced two puncture wounds approximately the size of a quarter and a half dollar.”
Waer said “that the dog was unprovoked and that he did not do anything to aggravate or cause reason to draw attention towards the dog,” according to the report. Waer immediately went to the hospital to get medical attention.
Klukowicz said that he then went to Raymond’s and spoke to general manager John Gergeos, who led him to a restaurant employee who had witnessed the incident. Hostess Afia Bardswell said that she saw Waer bleeding and “heard the owner, Megan, state that the dog had all of its shots,” the report said.
Bardswell “also heard another table ask why her dog bit the man and Megan replied, ‘I don’t know he never bit anyone before,’” according to the police report.
In his report Klukowicz added that Megan “was notified by voice mail to contact headquarters for her account of the incident.”
Waer’s fiancé, Bridget Soyka-Smith, on Saturday posted about the incident on the Share Montclair Facebook page.
“We are currently in Mountain ER getting rabies shots,” she wrote. “The first of five required in a month! The patrons were seated at an outdoor table with another white Pomeranian-type dog. They fled immediately with their two dogs.”
Soyka-Smith asked if anyone knew the identity of the dog owner, adding that a Mountainside doctor told Waer that, without knowing the pit bull’s medical history, he had to get the rabies shots.
“The ER physician insisted that the shots cannot wait until we found the owner,” Soyka-Smith wrote.“He stressed that rabies equates to death and we must start the shots and finish them out for the next four injections and cannot wait to see if the owner comes forward. He made it very clear this is very serious.”
In the wake of the incident, Raymond’s has asked its staff to be extra cautious about dogs at its seating on Church Street, according to Joanne Ricci, the co-owner of the restaurant’s outlets in Montclair and Ridgewood.