A Boulder woman was fined $500 after her dog bolted out an open door, startling an elderly neighbor who fell and later died from injury complications.
In sentencing Dale Eggers Monday to the maximum fine, Municipal Judge Linda P. Cooke said the "very unusual" and "extremely sad" death of 87-year-old Anna Beth Grotzky underscored the importance of dog owners obeying leash laws, the Daily Camera reported
"I'm hoping this case will become something of a symbol," Cooke said. "This case clearly represents the worst-case scenario of what can happen when a dog is at large."
Eggers, 65, who pleaded no contest to the leash violation, was ordered to pay $500, when the typical fine for first-time offenders is $50, the newspaper said. The judge agreed to reduce the amount by $175 if Bartleby, Eggers' Airedale terrier, keeps out of trouble for at least two years.
The deadly accident happened at about 6 p.m. on July 27 as Grotzky and her 90-year-old husband, Virgil, were returning to their Seventh Street home from their usual evening stroll, the Camera said.
The husband had entered their home.
But Anna Beth Grotzky was lingering outside when Eggers' dog dashed out an open door and ran toward the elderly woman.
It's unclear whether the dog jumped on Anna Beth Grotzky or simply frightened her.
But the woman fell to the ground, breaking her hip.
Nine days later, Anna Beth Grotzky died at the hospital from complications of hip-replacement surgery, the Camera reported. According to her family, the surgery required her to go off blood-thinning medications, which doctors believe led to a blood clot and fatal heart attack.
"This was an accident, but it was so totally preventable," Grotzky's daughter, Janeane Golliher, said during the sentencing hearing.
"If by citing this case, you can convince even one person to take responsibility (for keeping a dog under control), it might save a life or prevent an injury," the daughter said, according to the Camera.
Eggers did not speak during sentencing.
But last week Eggers told the Camera she believed she'd been unfairly portrayed as an irresponsible dog owner over what she called a fluke accident.
"It's just a terrible thing that happened," Eggers told the newspaper, saying her dog had never taken off like that before. "I'd give anything that it hadn't happened."
"I'm probably the most responsible dog owner in that area," she said. "I take my dog to the car on a leash."
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