South Hadley officials to hold dangerous dog hearing Jan. 4

  • South Hadley Town Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/22/2021 8:16:20 PM
Modified: 12/22/2021 8:16:05 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — The town is scheduled to hold a dangerous dog hearing early next month for a mixed pit bull that the town’s animal control officer says “has been terrorizing the neighborhood for months.”

In a letter to town officials, Animal Control Officer McClair Mailhott Jr. alleges that the dog’s owners, Brenda and Robert Chapdelaine of 4 Miami St., are not capable of controlling the dog, whose name is Brody.

Mailhott said the dog had bitten two people within a month, had tried to attack other dogs, would not come when called, and posed “a threat to everyone in the neighborhood,” including other animals.

Mailhott said he has issued four citations to the owners for failure to restrain their dogs and to have them properly registered with the town. His most recent visit on Nov. 29 was because the dog was running around the neighborhood, where it tried to bite a neighbor’s dog on her own property, circling around the woman and her dog in a threatening manner.

“As I was leaving, I noticed seven ... neighbors hanging around the property,” he wrote. “I spoke with them and they advised me that enough is enough. That they are fed up with not being able to walk the neighborhood without being in fear that Brody is going to bite someone again or (attack) another dog.”

Reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon, Robert Chapdelaine declined to comment on Mailhott’s allegations and the pending hearing, adding only that the family has retained an attorney.

At its Dec. 7 meeting, the Select Board voted to schedule a dangerous dog hearing for Brody.

In an email, Town Administrator Lisa Wong confirmed that the hearing will take place on Jan. 4.

At that hearing, the Select Board will decide Brody’s fate. In his letter to the Select Board, Mailhott said he had already recommended that the Chapdelaines obtain a $100,000 insurance policy in case the dog bites somebody again, but that the family had not followed through with that recommendation.

“This dog meets the criteria for both a nuisance dog and a vicious dog,” he wrote. He said he recommends that the family turn the dog over to him to try to place it with a shelter that can care for it. His second recommendation is that the dog be euthanized.

In 2017, the Select Board voted to euthanize a 3-year-old Saint Bernard, Ziggy, after the animal control officer deemed him a threat to public safety. At the time, the Select Board said the animal had chased postal workers and attacked neighbors.

That decision, however, was overturned by an Eastern Hampshire District Court clerk-magistrate after the dog’s owner, April Marion, appealed the decision.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.

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