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March 1, 2005

Woman Who Punched Deaf Woman Convicted

From: - Miami,FL,USA - Mar 1, 2005

Fight Started Because Of Companion Dog

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. -- A woman who punched a deaf woman in the face because of her companion hearing dog was found guilty of battery Tuesday.

Deputies said in November 2003, Jean Costanza Sala, 71, went into New York Italian Buffet restaurant in Tamarac accompanied by her hearing dog. The manager of the restaurant agreed to allow Sala, a medium-sized Sheltie, to stay in the restaurant.

At that point, Jeanne Shapiro, 49, who was in the restaurant with her mother, became angry when the dog was allowed to stay, saying it made her "sick to her stomach."

An argument began between the two women, and continued as they went outside, according to witnesses.

Deputies said Sala was trying to explain to Shapiro that she relies on her dog because she is deaf, when suddenly Shapiro punched her in the mouth with a closed fist, splitting Sala's lip open.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies and Tamarac Fire Rescue paramedics were called. Sala was treated at the scene.

Shapiro was arrested and charged with battery on a person over 65, a third-degree felony.

She is being held on $30,000 bond. Shapiro will be sentenced in April. She faces up to five years in prison.

Previous Stories:
• November 3, 2003: Deaf Woman Punched Over Companion Hearing Dog

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