YORK, Pa. — A 66-year-old man who told police he used a dog leash at a Pennsylvania fair to keep track of his wife, who has dementia, was arrested after he allegedly yanked hard enough to leave red marks around her throat, according to WPMT.
Walter William Wolford, of Hagerstown, Maryland, was arrested Saturday and charged with one count of assault after a witness at the York Fair saw the alleged abuse and contacted police.
The witness told police she saw Wolford, who was holding an 8-foot nylon leash attached to the woman's neck, yank the leash until all the slack had gone out of it, causing the victim’s head to move backwards.
Police took Wolford to the West Manchester Township Police Station for questioning. The arresting officer noted that the victim was in a “very disoriented” state.
Wolford told police his wife was suffering from advanced-stage dementia, according to charging documents, and that she had wandered off at last year's fair and became lost for over an hour.
He told police that this year he felt his wife should have some form of restraint to prevent her from getting lost and came up with the leash idea, according to the documents. Wolford said he originally had the leash around his wife’s waist, but it worked its way up to her neck. When she walked away, Wolford said, he “gently tugged at the leash so she would stop.”
Wolford’s son and daughter-in-law, who were also attending the fair, told police that Wolford was not abusive.
Police charged Wolford with simple assault after consulting with the York County District Attorney’s Office and the York Area Agency on Aging. Wolford’s son took the victim into custody while Wolford was arraigned and processed, police say.