A 36-year-old Gardiner woman was bitten in the face by a dog Tuesday morning as she was getting into the dog owner’s car, police said.

Gardiner police Chief James Toman said the woman was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta by Gardiner Ambulance.

“We haven’t had a chance to talk with the victim, so the case is open and ongoing,” Toman said. “From what I was told, the victim was going to require surgery.”

He did not identify the victim or the dog’s owner and said the incident remained under investigation Tuesday afternoon.

Toman said Officer Marcus Niedner responded to the 8:45 a.m. call at a private residence on Clinton Street in Gardiner.

“The victim and the dog were familiar with one another,” Toman said. “There was nothing random about this. The dog owner went to the victim’s residence to give the victim a ride somewhere.”

For some reason, he said, the dog seemed to become protective of the car and bit the woman.

Toman said police had not gotten an update on the victim’s status, but the 5-year-old mixed-breed dog immediately was turned over to police by the owner and taken to the Kennebec Valley Humane Society shelter in Augusta for quarantine. He said it appeared that there have been no other complaints involving the animal.

“The dog never got loose; it was never roaming,” Toman said.

Gardiner elected officials recently revised the city’s ordinance governing “dog control provisions” and now has a citywide leash law. Dogs may be off-leash on the property of their owner or the property of someone who has given permission for the dog to be off-leash. This comes in the wake of several complaints about dogs running loose that have attacked other dogs, and an incident in July in which a woman was attacked and injured by two dogs that were not under leash control in the Arcade parking lot behind Water Street.

Also, Rep. Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta, has announced a plan to submit a bill for consideration in the next legislative session to increase penalties against dog owners whose dogs attack people.

Under state law, it is illegal for dogs to be at large, unless they are hunting. The law defines “at large” as being “off the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person whose personal presence and attention would reasonably control the conduct of the animal.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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