Norwalk PD says Wilton woman tossed her dog out of a moving car. She says they’re wrong

Police car

Police car

Contributed Photo / Contributed Photo

Police say a Wilton woman tossed her 1-year-old dog out of a moving vehicle, but her attorney claims the case is not as cut and dry as it appears.

Criminal defense attorney Mark Phillips said Friday that the public has been “quick to condemn” his client, Helen Skulski, since Norwalk police arrested her on a charge of animal cruelty on March 26, but that scrutiny is “premature.”

“She is absolutely mortified at these allegations,” Phillips said.

Phillips said Skulski, 56, adamantly denies throwing her pet beagle out of her car.

Skulski is a loving grandmother and a longtime dog owner, who is “devastated” by the accusations, according to Phillips.

Skulski claims she and her husband took their pet beagle to the Rowayton dog park on March 9 leading up to the alleged incident.

It was one of the first nice, warm days of the spring, Phillips said, so the three went outside to enjoy the weather before completing some errands.

When the three finished at the park, they started packing up their car to leave. Phillips said it was then that they removed the dog’s collar, which she chews and claws at otherwise, and loaded her in the back seat.

Skulski’s husband told police he then opened the rear door and trunk to load other items in the car before driving away, according to the police report. As the couple left the park, they rolled down the windows so their puppy could enjoy the fresh air.

It wasn’t until the couple were on Connecticut Avenue, that they claim to have noticed their dog was no longer in the backseat, the police report states.

The couple told police they went back to the dog park to search for the dog the moment they realized she was missing. When they couldn’t find the dog there, they said they called Norwalk Animal Control to try and track it down, according to the police report.

Phillips claims Skulski doesn’t know how the dog got out — whether she escaped from the car while they were packing up at the dog park or whether it leapt from the window at some point in the ride. But, he said, Skulski denied playing a role in the dog getting loose.

The 911 caller who reported the incident claims things went differently, however.

According to the police report, the motorist told police she saw “two arms reaching out the right side window” of Skulski’s car as it drove down Connecticut Avenue.

The complainant said traffic was “fairly congested” and traveling at around 25 mph when she saw that pair of arms dangle a dog upside down out the window before tossing it into the right lane of the busy road.

The caller told police she stopped traffic with her car to protect the dog, which she was able to bring to the side of the road.

Police said at the time that the dog suffered “superficial scrapes” in the incident.

Sgt. David O’Connor said in his report that police obtained video from a nearby storage facility that shows “an object ... coming out from the right side” of Skulski’s car, then moments later a dog walking on the side of road.

But Phillips said that only proves the dog exited the car around this time, not that his client was responsible for it.

Police also noted in their report that the dog “appeared to be well-nourished and clean.”

“These people love their dog. Their house is filled with beagle accouterments, everything they own is beagle this or beagle that,” Phillips said.

Since her arrest, a judge has ordered that Skulski have no contact with animals. That means Skulski needed to turn her dog, as well as a cat she owns, over to relatives.

Phillips said Skulski’s loss has been further compounded by an outpouring of hurtful messages online and even death threats.

The attorney called the backlash his client is facing “egregious” and “unfair.”

“Nobody has stopped for a moment to consider the fact that maybe she didn’t do these things she’s being accused of,” Phillips said.

Skulski is free after posting $25,000 bond, and is next scheduled to appear in court on May 26.