Eight months after a home health care worker was viciously attacked by a group of dogs while on the job in Plainfield, the town has decided four of those dogs can return to their owners.
Lynne Denning received a letter from the town on Monday explaining the decision. She has had at least 13 surgeries since the attack, which happened as she took care of an elderly woman inside a Putnam Road home in December.
The dogs ripped apart her face while attacking her head to toe, according to her husband Tony Denning.
"It’s heartbreaking," said Tony Denning. "The dogs that were involved, they have to be put down because nobody in their right mind would trust these dogs around anybody."
Plainfield police are still pushing to have two of the dogs euthanized but say they’re unable to prove the other four took part in the attack.
"I think there's a little more to the story than they just decided to give the dogs back because they can't prove that they're guilty. The bottom line is dollars and cents," said Tony Denning.
The Department of Agriculture is supposed to hold a hearing on the dogs. As of Tuesday, Denning said no hearing had been scheduled.
"It’s been eight months. They can’t even give us a date," he said.
Town records list the owners of the dogs as Richard and Jenna Allen.
At their home Tuesday night, Jenna’s boyfriend, Corey Beakey, spoke briefly about the dogs.
"They’re show dogs so, yeah, of course they’re safe," said Beakey.
Tony Denning says the attack on his wife was not first issue that has come up with the dogs.
"This is not a first-case scenario with some kind of problem with these dogs," he said.
He says they’ll keep fighting to prevent such an attack from happening again.
"There is nothing to show me they’ve taken any precautions to prevent this in the future in this home," he said.
In response to the family’s concerns about a hearing, Steven Jensen, the spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture, released a statement saying, "Dog disposal cases can take a year or more to resolve because of their complexity and the right of the owners to appeal the decision, as well as the department's policy to hear them in the order that they are filed with us. We expect to hold an appeal hearing in this case within the next several weeks."
The Dennings have filed a lawsuit against the owners of the dogs and plan to sue the town as well.