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Nuisance dog ordered removed; Court's reversal of town order is sought in dog bite case.

Byline: Patty Lawrence-Perry

HOLLAND - Before a standing-room-only crowd at a hearing last week, selectmen declared a dog named Indy a public nuisance and ordered the animal removed from town no later than April 17.

The hearing had been continued from March 28, when Denise Mrowka of 11A Lakeridge Drive told selectmen that a German shepherd owned by James LaMountain of 41 Lakeridge Drive bit her son, Joshua, on the hand when he got off the school bus on March 27.

She said she took her son to the hospital, where his bruised, scratched and swollen hand was cleaned up and bandaged. He also received a tetanus shot. Ms. Mrowka notified Inspector of Animals Karen Tavernier about the incident; Mrs. Tavernier left a notice at Mr. LaMountain's home ordering the dog to be quarantined for 10 days, until April 7.

The animal inspector told selectmen at the March 28 meeting that the animal had all its required shots.

After the meeting, Karrie Geoffrey of 3 Lakeridge Drive faxed a statement to the Telegram & Gazette stating that Indy is her dog, not Mr. LaMountain's. She wrote that Joshua was playing with her son, Eric, and the dog. "Indy was leashed. ... He's playful and thinks he's one of the kids. He does not bite."

At the April 4 hearing, Ms. Mrowka submitted her son's medical records to selectmen, along with a statement from Joshua, who wrote in part that he met Eric, who was walking Indy on a leash, and while the boys were walking up Lakeridge Drive "either Eric lost control of the dog, (or Indy) pulled the leash out of his hand and ran up the road." Eric chased after the dog and caught him, and either the dog got loose again or was dragging Eric quickly when Indy lunged at his (Joshua's) left wrist and bit him. The incident "took only about 20 seconds," Joshua wrote.

In an interview Saturday, Mrs. Tavernier said she released Indy from the 10-day quarantine order that morning and she is no longer involved in the matter.

According to the selectmen's order, Indy must be restrained at all times until April 17, when the dog must be removed from Holland. Selectmen said Ms. Geoffrey can appeal their decision within 10 days.

James E. Wettlaufer, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, questioned who owns the dog last week, so selectmen sent a copy of their order to Mr. LaMountain as well.

Mr. LaMountain said Saturday that Ms. Geoffrey is distraught over the order. A hearing was to be held yesterday in Springfield Superior Court seeking to overrule the selectmen's order.

NAME: HOLLAND SELECTMEN
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Apr 11, 2007
Words:437
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