IM this article to a friend!

November 4, 2003

Tamarac woman accused of punching elderly deaf woman

From: Sarasota Herald-Tribune, FL - Nov 4, 2003

The Associated Press

TAMARAC, Fla. --

A customer at an Italian food buffet punched an elderly deaf woman in the face because she brought her hearing dog into the restaurant, sheriff's deputies said.

Jeanne Shapiro, 49, was charged with battery on a person over the age of 65 and held on $5,000 bail in the county jail in Pompano Beach, the Broward Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said she hit 71-year-old Jean Costanza Sala in the mouth on Sunday and caused her lip to bleed. Sala was treated at the scene by Tamarac Fire Rescue.

Shapiro, who was dining with her wheelchair-bound mother, apparently became angry when Sala walked in with her son and hearing dog, a brown-and-white sheltie named Misty.

"Shapiro started yelling, `Get that dog out of here! It's turning my stomach!'" recalled Michael Delgardio, owner of New York Italian Buffet.

The argument continued outside the restaurant, with Sala trying to explain that she relied on her dog, which alerts her to alarms and other noises. But the two kept arguing and Shapiro eventually hit Sala, a sheriff's office news release said.

"I touched my mouth and said, `Oh, my God, I'm bleeding,'" Sala told WFOR-TV.

© Sarasota Herald-Tribune. All rights reserved.