Katie, a three year old German Shepherd, was deemed dangerous by the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen on Monday night.
After over one hour of discussion, a motion was filed and passed unanimously stating that Katie, who resides on Bridge Street, must be muzzled and humanely restrained when outside.
Katie was accused of biting three dogs and one human.
Dawn Cashman, a Bridge Street resident, addressed the board. “I was bitten by Katie,” she began. “The officer who came to my house on the day that I was bitten did see the wound; she [the dog] did draw blood,” said Cashman.
“I didn’t feel it needed stitching,” Cashman continued. “I just took the advice of the nurse I talked to at the doctor’s office and just made sure there were no symptoms or infections and so forth.”
Cashman expressed her desire to see the dog live a happy life rather than be euthanized.
“I don’t want to see anything happen to her either,” Cashman said. “She can be a happy dog in her own yard.” She also qualified the statement by adding, “Since I was bitten, Katie has attacked my dog two times.”
Michael Hazel, another Bridge Street resident, expressed his concerns to the board.
“When a six foot one person yells and tries to stop the aggression of the dog, and the dog ignores you and goes after the other animal, that concerns me a little bit and makes me think the dog is a little on the aggressive and dangerous side,” said Hazel.
Hazel’s dog was nipped by Katie, but he also expressed the desire to see Katie happy.
“The dog is a beautiful dog. I’m a pet owner; I would hate to see anything happen to that dog,” Hazel said. He qualified the statement by adding, “Kids in the neighborhood have said that dog is a mean dog.”
The dog’s owner, Valerie Kopacz, spoke on behalf of her pet.
“I’m very responsible for my dog,” Kopacz said. “I want to rectify this problem too,” she continued.
“I don’t want her to go around biting anybody; I don’t want my neighbors to hate me,” said Kopacz.
A statute adopted in 2012 states that a dog deemed dangerous, when outside, must be in an enclosed area with a secure roof.
Chelmsford Animal Control Officer, Erik Merrill, clarified the definition of such a secure roof.
“A secure roof doesn’t necessarily mean a wooden structure,” he informed the board. “A secure roof from a kennel supply company can be a nylon tarp,” he said.
Kopacz will have to appear before the board when proper fencing and roofing are installed. Until then, Katie will be forced to wear a muzzle and be humanely restrained at all times when outdoors.
Board chairman Jon Kurland wrapped up the approximately 70 minute discussion succinctly.
“I’ll be perfectly candid with you,” he said to Kopacz. “If there was another incident, no matter how trivial, if I was sitting here, I would vote to euthanize the dog, which is not what I would like to do.”