S. Hadley Board of Selectmen Order Junior Cujo Euthanized For Several Bite Incidents, Owner Goes Freemuhboi, He Dindunuffin
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I want to preface this by saying I am a HUGE animal lover, with a soft spot for doggos. What I don’t have patience for is irresponsible pet owners who allow their animals to get into dangerous situations.
This morning, our inbox lit up with this story out of South Hadley:
“The town of South Hadley just voted that my 2 year old St Bernard Ziggy be euthanized!! I am in shock!! He never ever bit anyone!! He has never been aggressive!! Everyone comes to visit!!! He loves everyone!!!! This is just crazy!! I could never kill our sweet boy!!! Their reasoning is due to my negligence as an owner, because he escaped his kennel…Since when do we kill dogs for this??? And how am I negligent …I didnt even put the dogs outside that day they escaped, Frank did!!! I went to work and dogs were in the house!! Sorry my big dogs scared the old man and his wife!!! But anyone who knows Ziggy knows he is NOT dangerous…unless you are allergic to dog hair, drool, or wet kisses!!! We WILL fight this ridiculous decision to the bitter end!!! The support of other dog owners and anyone who knows Ziggy is greatly appreciated!!! Thank you for your support !!!!”
Ziggy, a 2-year-old Saint Bernard, was ordered to be euthanized by the Board of Selectmen after, contrary to what his owner says, he was involved in a string of escape/chase/bite incidents spanning more than half his life.
Here you can read the the minutes from the first dangerousness hearing in 2016. It’s item #7 and begins on page 6. Some highlights:
Two Saint Bernards are housed at the property on 11 Silver Street, Mr. O’Brien related. He has had multiple issues with
the dogs as they at one point bit a jogger and at multiple other points got loose and chased the mail handler down the
street. He and police officers have talked to the owners multiple times and asked them to address the issue and advised
them that if incidents continued there would be a dangerous dog hearing.
Mr. O’Brien is the town Animal Control Officer. As of 2016, when Ziggy would have only been 1, Mr. O’Brien had already had several incidents and encounters with Ziggy, and another St. Bernard, Ziggy’s mother, who has since been euthanized by her owner. The owner had been warned multiple times.
When they were smaller she used to walk them together. In one incident, the jogger ran really close to her. Her dogs were startled and the female “kind of gave him a little warning.” She thought she was
more scared than anything… Chair Hine asked if Mrs. Marion disputed that her dog bit the individual several times, and Mrs. Marion said she did not see her dog bite the person. She had control of her dog the entire time and he was on a short leash, so if the dog bit the jogger he was really, really close to her. When asked if she disputed the incident with the postal worker, she said she did not see her dog attack her or bite her. She did see the dog bark at the mail carrier.
Yeah, because when I’m out for a jog, I definitely
definitelytry to get as close to the biggest dogs I encounter on the trails for a good ol’ fly-by pet-and-run. Always goes well. And I’m sure this woman
had exactly zero trouble controlling 400lbs of dog on leash. Right.
Mr. Brezinsky referred to a report from South Hadley Adult Medicine in connection with the biting incident. Mr. O’Brien
explained that state law requires that animal bites resulting in a visit to a doctor be reported to the Board of Health and
that the animal be quarantined.
In response to a question from Mr. Brezinsky, Mrs. Marion repeated that she did not see her dog bite the person. The
animal control officer came to her house and the dog was quarantined, she acknowledged.
Mr. Brezinsky is a Selectman. He had in his possession a statement from a doctor that the jogger had been bitten multiple times. But since April didn’t see it, it couldn’t have *possibly* happened. Even though her dog was quarantined for it. Right.
Chair Hine asked how the incidents where the dog chased the postal carrier happened if the dogs are walked on a leash
to the kennel. When Ziggy was younger she used to keep him with her outside of the fenced enclosure, but now, since April 4th, she no
longer does this, Mrs. Marion assured.
The existing fence is a solid fence, Mr. O’Brien confirmed. He said he would love to see the fencing extend to the back
door. He responded to an incident where the dog chased the postal carrier and the dog had broken down the back
door. He would like to see the fencing extend to the house so if something does break the dogs can’t get out.
Here, the owner admits to being negligent by not securing Ziggy properly. And not for nothing… the dog BROKE DOWN THE BACK DOOR to get out and chase the mailman.
If you saw this guy popping through the door like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, I bet you’d be shitting your pants.
This is not normal behavior for a puppy, but the fault ultimately lies with the owner here. If you have a pet, much like when you have a child, you’re responsible for taking care of not only their basic needs, but ensuring they behave and aren’t assholes. If your dog is a dick, roll up a newspaper and whack yourself on the dome with it; the problem is you, not them.
As a result of this dangerousness hearing, Ziggy and the other dog were ordered to be muzzled in public and on a leash no longer than 3′ in length, contained in an adequate, secure enclosure in the yard that extended to the back door as a fail-safe, and April was ordered to obtain a $100k liability insurance policy to cover any potential future incidents. Basic stuff. That should have been the end of it, until…
“Fast-forward to 2017.
After two incidents earlier this year, Marion was called in for a second dangerous dog hearing Tuesday, where the Board of Health recommended that Ziggy be put down.
On Feb. 19, a woman was walking her older Akita down Silver Street. One of the two Saint Bernards ran across the street and started to fight the dog. The dog ended up with a puncture wound, the woman’s sister told police.
In May, a 74-year-old man was walking down Silver Street with his wife when one of the dogs bit him, he said. The police responded. Paramedics treated him at the scene. He got rabies shots as a precaution.
Marion said Tiara did have an aggressive history, especially after she gave birth to puppies. Marion and her family decided to put Tiara down after the May incident.
“It was very hard for us to put her down,” Marion said, “but we thought it was necessary considering she busted out of the kennel.”
But Ziggy has never been a problem, she said, despite the mail carrier incident.
After Tuesday’s hearing, Marion said, the town animal control officer visited Marion’s new house and said he would recommend that the Select Board vote not to kill Ziggy on the condition Marion install electric fencing.
The town Board of Health could not confirm this on Thursday. Etelman did say there was some “softening” in the Board of Health’s position that the dog be euthanized as Tuesday night’s hearing stretched on.
In a May 24 letter to Marion’s family, Sharon Hart, the town public health director, wrote the dogs were not licensed with the town and that Marion could not show proof of rabies vaccination.
In a violation of the 2016 town order, the kennel on the property was not connected to the back door and the dogs were not leashed or muzzled.
“Had she followed the protocol that was given to her,” Etelman said, “we wouldn’t be in the situation that we’re in. And, unfortunately, it’s the dog that could potentially suffer because of her actions.””
After the dogs were already deemed dangerous in May 2016, by February 2017, they were up to their old antics again. This time, they busted through the “secure” kennel and attacked a dog across the street. The town effectively looked the other way and let it slide. 3 months later, in May, the dogs escaped AGAIN and chased/bit an elderly man walking down the street with his wife.
This dumpsterfire of a pet owner
not only shirked her responsibility to uphold the town’s orders to keep both her dogs and the community safe, but also didn’t even bother to have them licensed or vaccinated. Vaccinating your pets is BASIC care. A rabies shot is like $15-$20 at Petco for crying out loud, and you can even get one that is effective for THREE YEARS. This is clear cut negligence. This lady doesn’t give a fuck that her dogs are/were a menace and is expecting everyone around her to deal with her dog-handling ineptitude.
While Ziggy is a beautiful animal
and I don’t think he deserves to die because his owner is a boogerbrain, I do think he should be removed and placed into the care of qualified individuals. Someone who is certified and can train him properly, set him up for success, and give him a quality life. Also, someone who realizes the potential shitshow this could be should Ziggy not be handled properly. He is not going to get that with his current owner, nor will he get that in the Town of South Hadley.
If Ziggy were to remain in this fuckstick’s care, he would be continuously set up to fail up to and until he either maims or kills someone. Let’s be real, this is 200ish lbs of dog and shit can go south QUICK. I mean, we’ve all seen Cujo.
April is currently appealing the Board’s decision in court and of course, has started a #FreeMuhBoi GoFundMe to spring for a lawyer well-versed in Pooch-olitics.
“Sorry my big dogs scared the old man and his wife!!!” Not sorry for the series of excruciatingly painful rabies shots he had to undergo, though cuz yo dogs don’t need no vackzinashuns! #FACKS
This lady just wants to point her finger at everyone but herself. Your dogs, your responsibility, period.
It’s my hope that the judge hearing the appeal will realize that this dog isn’t so far gone (yet,) but it is the owner who is fuckin’ cooked and order him sent somewhere where they’ll handle him properly.