Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dogs And Morons - Always In Proximity

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.


Anonymous said...

I can only hope that the people who were bitten sue the shit out of the idiot dog owner. That's not much of a solution, but such is the world we live in.

In my state, it is illegal to shoot dogs...unless you are attacked. With a rule like that, all dogs are vicious killers.

Dog owners also always say, "My dog doesn't bite." This is the absolute epitome of stupidity: all dogs bite, period.

Fur-covered maggots, I say.

Anonymous said...

Why, exactly, can we not euthanize the owners? Why, exactly, do people patronize their business? WTF?

It breaks the selectman's heart to euthanize dogs with a track record of biting. Why not just wait until the bite a 3 year old in the face? I mean, what's the big deal. It would be at least 50/50 on the dog owners and the 3 year old.

My neighbor has a dog that bit another neighbor. But ohh, it is their baby. Ohh, too bad. Let's just wait until it bites one of the 5 kids who live within 300 yards.

Slow out

CaptiousNut said...


All dogs bite....never looked at it that way.



Massachusetts is pagan country. Dogs, and trees and sports, are religion up here. They need something to distract the mind from their hollow existences. You know all this.

Where have you been anyway? Still hanging out with those clowns on Karlgaard's blog?

Anonymous said...

Dogs are like kids. The more you work with them the better they are. Granted certain breeds are still untrustworthy.

Anonymous said...

I just knew somebody was going to anthropomorphize a dog. Dogs are animals, it doesn't matter how long you "work" with them, you are not going to eliminate millions of years of evolution in regards to their behavior.

You see, the average idiot cannot comprehend the science associated with simple animal behavior. They have no prayer of understanding something as complex as global climate change.

Since this blog often touches on just that issue, isn't it ironic that we are in the interglacial period of an ice age! We should be trying to induce global warming, not prevent it. A resumption of the glacial period will be far more costly to human life than the alternative.

Anonymous said...

Right. Actually, dogs have evolved through artificial selection, by no means the natural selection implied through your use of the word "evolution." humans have bred each type of dog for a specific use in our lives. Herding, hunting, guarding, and even lap dogs have been specifically engineered to our liking. It's when a guard dog: like the english mastiff, is taken out of its intended function to attack intruders and put into a new function, welcoming customers, that these problems arise. No, dogs are not kids. But, dogs are not all monsters, either.

Michael Crabtree, Jr said...

Of the six comments left here previously to my own, I am saddened by the fact that only ONE demonstrates even a remote degree of education on the subject and one other has virtually NOTHING to do the topic at hand. I personally have kept large breed dogs my entire life, including german shepherds, rottweilers, & pit bull terriers. All of these breeds have much undeserved reputations as "vicious." Anyone with any degree of education on the subject of dogs will tell you that there is no such thing as a "bad dog", only bad owners. The fact is, that any and every dog, regardless of size, age, & breed, is capable of, & has the potential to bite someone. To say otherwise is naive at best, and outright irresponsible at worst. The owners, in this particular case, sadly showed an extreme lack of responsiblity to both their dog, & the public. The real tragedy here, is not that someone got bitten, but is that this otherwise good & well behaved animal will likely be destroyed because the owners were too irresponsible to do right by the animal. The simple solution would have been to either obey the local ordinaces by keeping the animal leashed, and/or muzzled. Dogs don't need "training", the owners do. Dogs are indeed very much like young children in the aspect that they will behave according to their upbringing. A poorly disiplined dog, as in this case, much like a poorly diciplined child will definately get into trouble. Sadly that trouble caused injury to two people, and as much as it pains me to say, should lead to the distruction of the animal. With the history of biting this animal has, no reputable shelter will legally be able to take this animal.

CaptiousNut said...


How many PSI does a pit bull bite with?