Dogs that attacked woman in Wareham deemed dangerous

Jun 19, 2018

Two pit bull-mix dogs that injured a woman walking near the Papermill Cranberry Bogs last month will have several restrictions placed on them after being deemed dangerous.

The dogs, named Amelia and Jackson, caused “severe injury” to the victim’s left hand and behind her right knee while they were being walked off leash by Laura Geigel. The dog’s owner, Paul, who is Laura’s husband, appeared before Selectmen on Tuesday during a hearing that imposed the restrictions.

Geigel said the attack was uncharacteristic.

“It’s an awful incident and I take full responsibility,” he said. “They’re not vicious. For some reason, they went after this woman.”

According to a report from Animal Control Officer Cheryl Gorveatt-Dill, the two dogs chased and then bit the woman, who was taken to Tobey Hospital for rabies shots. At the time, the dogs’ owner was unknown.

Geigel said his wife then took the dogs home to put them inside and planned to speak with the victim, but didn’t return. Since then, the Geigles have sent a letter apologizing to the victim and spoken to her by phone. They are offering to pay her medical bills.

Geigel said he adopted the dogs three years ago from a Rhode Island family that was fostering them. A Wareham resident since 1989, he said Amelia and Jackson are the sixth and seventh dogs he’s owned.

During the hearing, Gorveatt-Dill said she had no reported instances of the dogs attacking anyone in the past. However, one neighbor testified that the dogs had acted aggressively toward him before. Another neighbor defended the Geigels and the dogs, saying the animals were always friendly.

Gorveatt-Dill was unequivocal in her determination.

“They need to be deemed dangerous,” she said. “This was an unprovoked attacked, which resulted in severe injury to a human being.”

Selectmen voted unanimously to name the dogs dangerous. The designation allowed them to place several restrictions on the dogs, including increasing the height of the fenced in area that the dogs are kept in and making sure the dogs do not leave the property without being leashed.

Geigel agreed to follow the restrictions.

“I do feel they will take the precaution restrictions very seriously,” said Gorveatt-Dill.