|Pittsfield Dog Ordered Euthanized Bites Again|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
03:49AM / Friday, February 03, 2017
|The Animal Control Commission is updated on the status of the dog, Loco, on Wednesday. A court appeal hearing had been scheduled for Thursday but the dog was impounded after biting someone else. |
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A dog previously ordered to be euthanized has bitten another person while the decision was under appeal.
Animal Control Officer Joseph Chague said the 110-pound Loco, owned by Raymond Wright of North Street, bit another person and the dog was impounded. The dog was already deemed dangerous and ordered to be euthanized but Wright had appealed the order in court.
"He got loose and bit another gentleman," Chague told the Animal Control Commission on Wednesday.
The commission had declared the animal dangerous and ordered it put down in January. That had come after multiple reports of violent encounters.
On Oct. 30, Michael Hoag was out for a run when he encountered the dog, being led on a leash by the owner's friend. The dog started to come after him and the friend extended his arm allowing the dog to come close. The dog sniffed Hoag and then latched onto his hand, causing severe damage. Chague said the dog was unprovoked.
"As soon I moved slowly, an inch or two, he latched on and held on for seven or eight seconds," Hoag said.
Hoag added that the man walking the dog made no attempt to pull it back during the attack and that he had to pull his hand out of the dog's mouth. Hoag said the man gave a fake name and address and quickly left the area.
Chague issued a muzzle order and a citation for having an unlicensed dog, which meant the dog couldn't leave the home without a muzzle. Wright apparently paid the fine for having an unlicensed dog but then walked out of the clerk's office when asked if he wanted to license it.
In December, Chague issued another citation for having unlicensed dog and failure to follow the muzzle order after multiple reports of the dog still being walked but without a muzzle. Those fines have not been paid.
"The dog isn't running loose. We haven't had a problem in its yard. For whatever reason, it isn't Mr. Wright who is always walking his dog, it seems to always be this friend of his," Chague said in January.
But that incident wasn't the only one regarding the dog. Police Lt. Michael Winston remembers an encounter in 2015 when the dog got into a fight with another dog on North Street. He said the friend who was walking the dog was enjoying the fight.
"That was a very volatile and violent encounter. Whoever had the dog that night was a willing participant in the fact that these dogs got into a fight," Winston said.
Neither Wright nor his friend attended the January hearing. The commission worried about the safety of those on North Street or working at Berkshire Medical Center and felt since muzzle orders weren't being followed, they had little confidence anything would work.
"What really troubles me is that they are not here to defend the dog at all and they were given notice," said Commissioner Krista Wroldson Miller.
Chairman John Reynolds said the board tries to give dogs and owners the benefit of the doubt and works to find solutions. But, in this case, the owner didn't show up. He said he has real fears about the dog being on North Street.
"We are talking about a really public area and I am surprised this dog hasn't bitten other people," said Chairman John Reynolds.
The commission ordered the euthanasia. Hoag attempted to change the board's opinion by asking if the dog could instead be rescued or re-homed. But the board said finding rescue operations that will take on a dog with a bite history, and a bite history with an unprovoked attack, is an "uphill battle."
"When they have a bite history, finding a rescue for them is next to impossible," Miller said, adding that there are many other dogs without a violent history needing rescue as well.
Wright filed an appeal in court, attempting to overturn the decision. A court date was set for Thursday but Chague says the dog bit another person on Jan. 23. The dog has now been impounded and will stay in the shelter, he said.