|Connecticut Rescue Agrees to Take 2 Dogs at Risk for Euthanization|
|By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff|
04:02AM / Tuesday, July 21, 2020
|Attorney Gregg Corbo, bottom left, and Animal Control Officer Carrie Loholdt explain the deal being made between the dog rescue, the dog owners and the city.|
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — One of the dogs deemed dangerous two weeks will get another lease on life after a Connecticut rescue agreed to take him.
The euthanization of Piglet and Pretty Boy was put on hold when the owner, Luis Torres, said he was appealing
the decision through the courts. But on Monday, the city's attorney, Gregg Corbo, said Torres had agreed to having Piglet put down and for Pretty Boy and the third dog, Crook, to be surrendered to the rescue organization and removed from the state of Massachusetts.
"The rescue organization has stepped up ... the dog Piglet will be euthanized and the other two dogs will be rehabilitated as they see fit," Corbo said, adding that Furry Friends rescue will indemnify the city to any claims agains the dogs once they have them. "They truly believe those two dogs can be rehabilitated."
The dogs were the aggressors in at least three attacks, including a child visiting the home on Northern Lights Avenue, and a woman who was bitten when the dogs were running loose outside. Crook had participated in only one of the attacks and the owners were given the option to have an experienced trainer assess him for possible rehoming as long as the dog was removed from the city of North Adams.
The trainer, who is affiliated with the rescue, determined that both Crook and Pretty Boy had the potential for rehabilitation. Since the rescue uses foster care rather than a shelter, the dogs will go with home with him.
Animal Control Officer Carrie Hoholdt said she agreed with him that Piglet seemed to be the main aggressor in the three situations.
"I felt the same way he did regarding the three dogs ... one was the aggressor and the other two were pack mentality," she said. "They believe training will help but if it doesn't, they'll have to do what they have to do."
Torres was ordered to turn over Piglet to be euthanized on Tuesday. Loholdt said she was working her veterinarian to get the family's other two dogs in to be fixed and vaccinated. The "mother" dog is scheduled to be spayed on Aug. 3.
Pretty Boy and Crook will remain at the family home for the time being. Corbo, of KP Law, the city's solicitor, explained that the state of Connecticut requires a 10-day notice before the animals can be transported. However, no boarding kennel will accept any of the dogs because they are not licensed or vaccinated. The committee had ordered the dogs kenneled but Torres said he could not get anyone to vaccinate them because many veterinarians are scheduling out by weeks because of the effects of the pandemic.
Corbo said the rescue will cover the costs of vaccinating and licensing Pretty Boy and Crook.
The committee was most concerned with any liability to the city since one of the dogs had already been designated as dangerous. Corbo reviewed the contract to be signed that states "Furry Friends is accepting the dogs at its own risk and that the city is making no representations or warranties as to health or disposition of these dogs."
The rescue has already provided proof of insurance, he said, and the dogs will be chipped and photographed so if they some how come back into the city, the animal control officer can identify them.
When asked if the contract specifies keeping the animals out of state, the Corbo said no.
"It does not say the commonwealth of Massachusetts but it does say the city of North Adams and, under the agreement, the two remaining dogs are required to be microchipped," he said. "And if both dogs are found in the city of North Adams at any time for any reason, they can be seized by the police or animal control and euthanized."
While the dogs are in the city, they will have to be kept under the restraints previously spelled out by the committee: kept at the home, and muzzled and leashed when leaving only for veterinary visits or removal.
"Any violation of those terms or another bite during that period, the dogs will have to be turned over to the city to be euthanized," Corbo said. This can also occur if the rescue for whatever reason backs out on taking the dogs.
In signing the agreement, the owners agree to relinquish all three dogs, to dismiss any further litigation and to have their remaining dogs properly vaccinated and licensed. If they take in more than three dogs again, they will get a kennel license. They are also not elegible for any compensation.
The committee agreed to approve the contract, authorizing Chairman Jason LaForest to sign it on their behalf, and to refer to the mayor's office for final execution. Corbo said once all parties sign, the notice can go to Connecticut to start the 10-day clock.
"I felt that the committee was moving into a management phase ... a bit beyond the purview of this committee," said LaForest. "I would suggest to refer this to the chief of police for management beyond this agreement and that he and animal control office and mayor work with Mr. Corbo."
The committee will meet again on Monday, Aug. 17, at 4 p.m. for an update on the situation.