Amid criticism of the borough council's decision to override a previous municipal court settlement and continue to hold two dogs believed to be responsible for a Jan. 3 attack on another dog and its owner, Deputy Mayor Ed Trawinski asked council Tuesday to consider releasing photos from the attack.
"I cannot in good conscience let the people of Fair Lawn think that this council is acting somehow in a knee-jerk reaction, knowing what those photographs show," he said, urging council to discuss at its next public work session the possibility of posting the photographs on the borough's website.
"I think the people of Fair Lawn should be able to make an informed decision and judge for themselves."
Trawinski called an account of the attack provided on a Facebook page created in support of the dogs' release "totally wrong and factually fallacious," and urged release of the photos to counter any public sentiment that the attack was not, in fact, serious.
"The people of Fair Lawn need to understand what the risk is that we are evaluating in looking out for the interests of the people of Fair Lawn with respect to these two dogs that attacked, and didn’t just bite, but killed, in fact, I would say disemboweled a terrier and did severe damage to the terrier’s owner," he said.
According to a police report, both the dog and the dog's owner were bleeding when officers arrived on the scene. The owner was transported by ambulance to Hackensack University Medical Center, and the dog was taken to Valley Brook Animal Hospital, where it died “as a result of the injuries,” according to Borough Manager Tom Metzler.
Hope Alexander, who, along with her mother, owns the dogs allegedly responsible for the attack, said she was told that no blood was seen on either of her dogs following the attack and maintains that they are friendly and do not pose a threat to the public.
"I feel very helpless," a post on the Facebook page she created in support of her dogs reads. "I am one person against an entire town set on proving a point at the expense of my mild mannered oblivious pets."
A municipal court hearing Wednesday will decide whether the Jan. 9 settlement, in which Health and Human Services director Carol Wagner agreed to conditionally release the dogs if Alexander install a padlock on her gates, and muzzle and keep the dogs on a short leash when walking them, will be upheld.