Selectmen deemed Malinois at risk

May 21, 2019

After running off the property multiple times and biting a woman, a Malinois dog was deemed at risk by the Selectmen on Tuesday, May 21.

On April 24, at around 3:45 p.m. Jennifer Camara saw her neighbor's dog, named Peach, running loose. When Camara attempted to secure the dog in the owner’s backyard, the dog attacked her and bit her left thigh, resulting in four punctures and several bruises, according to Animal Control Officer Cheryl Gorveatt-Dill.

“Several neighbors who preferred to remain anonymous and spoke highly of the dog owner, did report that, on numerous occasions, the dog has been seen off the property and off-leash,” said Gorveatt-Dill.

The dog owner, Brandon Higgins, admitted that Peach has bitten Camara.  He also said that in Peach has gotten loose several times. He apologized to the victim prior to the board meeting and stated that he already began installing a fence.

Selectman Peter Teitelbaum said the board cannot deem the dog dangerous because in this case, the victim was technically trespassing Higgins's property.

"Under a dangerous dog bylaw, if a dog bites someone who intentionally comes onto the dog's property — that doesn't mean someone is committing a criminal bypass, breaking into a house or something like that — we can't find the dog dangerous,” Teitelbaum said. “However, we can consider the dog at risk.”

According to Wareham’s dog by-laws, an “at risk” dog is one that engages in behavior that requires a person or another dog to defend themselves against injury, or one that acts in a highly aggressive area within a yard or enclosure and could escape.

The selectmen imposed the following conditions: When not controlled by a person, the dog must be inside a building or secure enclosure, and the dog may only leave the owner’s property on a leash with a controlling person.