On August 1, FedEx driver Zachary Bunns pulled into Sherry Paisley's driveway on Walnut Tree Road in Newtown. Leaving a package at the back door, the driver returned to his truck and backed out. Paisley was in the house and heard her dog cry out and when she ran to the door, all she saw was a strip of blood and blond fur where her eight-year-old golden retriever Gracie had been dragged.
Paisley called the police, and looked throughout the neighborhood but could not find Gracie. Two weeks later, Paisley still looks shaken as she recalls that afternoon, “I was all by myself, and it was so hot outside.”
Luckily, one neighbor said she had seen Gracie across the road by Albert’s Tree Farm so they knew she had survived, but Paisley and neighbors were unable to find the dog.
Municipal Animal Control officer Carolee Mason came to the house and spent more than an hour looking for Gracie in the woods and the swamp. Mason said, “I was in my uniform, and my shift ended at 4, and I told Sherry I would just go home and change, and come back in my clothes.”
Mason came back in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops, and went deeper into the woods across the street. For another two hours, she went to all of the houses nearby and looked under every pine tree in the woods.
“I went by the old Alberts Tree Farm and and wondered where could this dog have gone. I went back into the swamp and the mosquitos were terrible. Then I saw about 50 yards away, this blond lump. I called Gracie and her head popped up. She was so happy to see me.”
Mason said swarms of flies had laid eggs in the deep gash on Gracie’s head. Covered with mud and grime from being dragged and running into the swamp, Mason said, “It looked like her ear was going to fall off. I saw she couldn’t walk very well, so I picked her up and carried her out of the swamp.”
Mason gave kudos to the Newtown Veterinary Specialists, 52 Church Hill Road, who attended to Gracie’s wounds. “They came out with a gurney as we pulled up with Gracie," Mason said. "They are top-notch."
Paisley contacts FedEx
Paisley said she has been very upset with the lack of attention from FedEx. The driver had returned to his base in Danbury that day, and he reported to his supervisor that he had run over the dog, but no one contacted Paisley.
Paisley said that for several days, she made calls to FedEx that went unreturned. She also said that she placed calls to the Broadspire Risk Management, which was handling the case for FedEx, and for three days was told that her questions could not be answered because the computers were down. It was a week before she was given a claim number.
A call on Wednesday to the FedEx Corporation in Memphis resulted in an explanation from Media Relations Scott Fiedler. “Our policy is to do everything possible to avoid this kind of thing and to take each case seriously. Each case is unique and on a case by case basis,” he said.
When asked if FedEx would pay for the more than $5,000 in veterinary bills, Fiedler responded, “We want to make sure Gracie receives the care she needs for as long as it takes.”
When asked if that meant FedEx would pay those bills, he said, “Broadspire Risk Management will conduct the investigation for us. Like with all claims, they will do an investigation and recommendation.
"It is difficult to say in any claim, especially with the dog still undergoing treatment, and we don’t know yet how long that treatment will be. You don’t want to close a claim too soon. We are working with Ms. Paisley and we want to receive the whole picture.”
Fiedler said that while he had not spoken with Paisley since last week, that did not mean the claim was not active. “We want folks to know our hearts go out to Ms. Paisley and Gracie, and we are working to resolve this with Ms. Paisley. We wish Gracie a speedy recovery and we want to thank Animal Control Officer Mason for her hard work. We are glad she was able to find Gracie and get her the medical attention she needed.”
Later that day, Broadspire contacted Paisley to ask about bills, which they asked her to fax to them. Paisley referred them to the veterinary office.
Other than that, Paisley has not received a phone call from FedEx in over a week. “I do not feel any compassion here,” she said. “I feel totally ignored. They may be working on it, but how would I know that?”