As Taylor would say, we truly do live in an absurdist society.
Here's local article of *news* from Boston's South Shore:
The town selectmen have ordered Gabriella to be euthanized after it bit two customers, a decision that stunned the owners and broke the hearts of the people who made the decision. Now, the owners are trying to find a no-kill shelter that would take the dog.
In the days since the decision, police have disclosed several other complaints against the shop owners, Bob and Megan Ulman, about their dogs. Twice, the Ullmans have faced misdemeanor charges in Hingham District court because of the dogs, and area merchants and selectmen say the owners have often failed to keep a close eye on the two English Mastiffs that weigh in at about 140 pounds apiece.
"They never should have had her in the shop in the first place," said Catherine McLaughlin, an 18-year-old server at Brewed Awakenings. "They set they’re[sic] dog up to get killed. They put her in that position, but she shouldn’t die for their mistake," she said.
Selectmen Chairman Laura Burns said the Ullmans’ actions after the first biting gave officials little choice.
"They had already defied the authority of the police on multiple occasions, multiple times--we couldn’t trust them to follow what we wanted them to do," Burns said in an interview. "They put us in an impossible position and I did what was best for public safety and residents even though I’m saddened by it," she said.
One of the victims was Stacey Wakefield, wife of Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield, who was bitten in June 2008. She described her bite as a 1 1/2 inch wound on her thigh that broke the flesh. A year later, the dog bit a second customer, Krista Brewer, who told the selectmen that Gabriella’s teeth caused a puncture wound in her stomach.
Police Chief Taylor Mills showed close-up photographs of her bruised and swollen abdomen taken after the attack.
Mills said the dog was seen at the South Street gallery after the first bite, and the Ullmans were charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The charges were reduced to a civil infraction and the Ullmans paid a $25 fine and agreed to keep the dogs out of the shop.
The Ullmans face another criminal charge in Hingham District Court for disorderly conduct because of the second bite a year later. After the second bite, Lt. Mike Perraino said, complaints about the dogs increased.
Police log entries show six calls about the dogs in a two-month period this summer. Some calls were complaints the dogs were running loose in the square. Another reported the dogs in the store. Another reported dogs barking, and yet another reported large dog out front barking.
"After the second bite people seemed to not want the dogs there anymore," Perraino said. "We got more calls and complaints."
Merchants and others in town said while some customers loved the dogs and came to the gallery to visit them, as the Ullmans have said, others feared the Mastiffs. What irked some was the dogs often lounged on the sidewalk in front of the gallery unleashed—a violation of the town’s leash law.
Since the selectmen's decision, the Ullmans have said they will appeal the decision and hope to find a compromise. One idea they suggested to selectmen was to find a no-kill shelter that would take the dog, said Town Administrator Kevin Paicos. He said selectmen might be in favor of that, but a judge would have to make the decision.
The Ullmans have said the bites are not drastic enough to take the life of Gabriella. "It was our, fault not the dogs. We didn’t lock the door, but there was a sign in the window that said closed and they went in anyway," Bob Ullman said. "I still maintain there was a 50-50 responsibility," he said after the hearing.
Around Hingham, residents interviewed this week were more likely to blame the dog owners, not the dogs.
Hingham resident Russell Reeves said he has been in the shop and has not seen the dogs be aggressive.
He said the decision to euthanize is too harsh, especially when all parties admit it’s not the dog’s fault, but the owners.
"You can’t euthanize the owners," Reeves said. "There has to be another option. There has to be someone up in Maine or somewhere to take them.
Selectmen John Riley said Gabriella may be sweet and lovable most of the time, she has shown a pattern that she can be dangerous when left unattended.
Riley said once he went into the shop to buy a postcard as a gift for his daughter. He said both dogs growled low as he walked through the store. He said he paid for the postcard and has not been to the shop since.
"We could go around in circles with this, but there is a pattern of biting and a pattern by the owners of not complying with the town’s demands," Riley said. "Our job is to protect the public."
Before anyone declare the MOST absurd aspect, consider the full slate of nominees:
The town selectmen have ordered Gabriella to be euthanized after it bit two customers, a decision that....broke the hearts of the people who made the decision. [BROKE their what?]
"They set they’re[sic] dog..." [Boston Globe editorial illiteracy!]
...paid a $25 fine... [Ooooh that'll teach'em!]
One of the victims was Stacey Wakefield, wife of Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield... [The dog was anti-Red Sox? In my book, that's a mitigating circumstance!]
Or, how about the fact that one of the death-sentencing selectmen was *growled* at by the dog? Shouldn't he have rightfully excused himself from the proceedings on account of prejudicial experience?
But the winner has to be the owners themselves. How Moronic are they to put huge, unleashed, nasty animals outfront to welcome their customers?
I've walked by this store a few times and do remember the dogs. I always keep my kids far away from all non-poodle dogs. And stories like the above only justify my precaution.
I've written a bunch on dog people - click here.