Select board passes judgement on ‘dangerous dog’ that attacked child

A pit bull that savaged a toddler faces euthanasia if it ever returns to Harvard, after the Select Board classified it a “dangerous dog.” Roughly 15 residents attended the Select Board June 11 hearing on the matter, which lasted less than 15 minutes.

Brenda Baer of Bren-Lin Farm Pet Services offered expert testimony, given her experience with dogs. She explained that the 9-year-old white pit bull was surprised when the child approached it, which it did not sense beforehand because it is deaf. She concluded that the dog is not willfully aggressive and advised the Select Board not to require euthanasia.

Before the hearing, the Select Board had already read letters reporting the incident from the dog’s owners, Daniel and Anne Ferguson of Glenview Drive; the child’s parents; and a neighbor. According to board members, the letter from the parents included photos of the injuries, which they described as disturbing and horrific. The board asked both the owners and the parents to confirm the veracity of their reports, which they did. The Press was unable to obtain copies of the letters in time for publication.

Animal Control Officer Paul Willard also explained that he arrived on the scene shortly after the attack occurred, that the parties’ accounts of events did not disagree, and that the dog’s owners had complied with a law requiring dogs that bite people to be placed in 10-day quarantine in case of rabies.

Select Board Chair Lucy Wallace opened the board’s deliberations by stating that it had the choice between two classifications for the offending dog. The classification of “dangerous dog,” she explained, would require the animal to be confiscated and euthanized, while the lesser classification of “nuisance dog” would carry more lenient penalties. Saying, “I am not comfortable leaving any chance of this happening again,” board member Rich Maiore made a motion to classify the dog as dangerous, which the Select Board passed unanimously.

The pit bull, which previously resided at 39 Glenview Drive, has since been moved to Maine, meaning it will not be euthanized unless it is returned to Harvard. The Select Board will send a letter to the town where the dog currently lives, informing the authorities there of the incident and the dog’s classification as dangerous.

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